Author: Graham Moore
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Book Description: One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?From the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and bestselling author of The Last Days of Night. . . .
“Exhilarating . . . a fiendishly slippery game of cat-and-mouse suspense and a provocative, urgent inquiry into American justice (and injustice) in the twenty-first century.”—A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
It’s the most sensational case of the decade. Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar real estate fortune, vanishes on her way home from school, and her teacher, Bobby Nock, a twenty-five-year-old African American man, is the prime suspect. The subsequent trial taps straight into America’s most pressing preoccupations: race, class, sex, law enforcement, and the lurid sins of the rich and famous. It’s an open-and-shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed—until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, convinced of Nock’s innocence, persuades the rest of the jurors to return the verdict of not guilty, a controversial decision that will change all their lives forever.
Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jury, with particular focus on Maya, now a defense attorney herself. When one of the jurors is found dead in Maya’s hotel room, all evidence points to her as the killer. Now, she must prove her own innocence—by getting to the bottom of a case that is far from closed.
As the present-day murder investigation weaves together with the story of what really happened during their deliberation, told by each of the jurors in turn, the secrets they have all been keeping threaten to come out—with drastic consequences for all involved.
Rating: 4 stars
Review: An extremely clever procedural, that I did not want to put this down. Ten years ago the trial of the century took place, and ten years later the jurors of that trial meet for a television reunion.
Maya is your central character. She was a juror on a trial, and when it came down to the decision she was the only holdout of not guilty. She slowly persuades the jury to her side and the defendant a young African American man was found not guilty.
We go forward to present time, Maya is a lawyer now, and she is asked to participate is a documentary with the jury of of this trial. On the first evening, one of the other juror’s is found dead in her room. This juror was the only one that positive that the defendant was guilty on that Jury.
What ensues a thriller of a book. The story’s chapters alternate between present and ten years ago during the trial from the point of view of each juror. This is a book that once you think you figured it out, another twist happens. The author does a wonderful job keeping these twists to the very last chapter.
I had a ton of fun reading this. This felt very locked room as far as the mystery goes, but the pool of suspects is so vast it did not feel “locked room”. I think if you are fans of Agatha Christie you will love this book. This book is so much more than this mystery, he provides for discussion of race and how it affects trials, and ones that are close to the case, great for book club discussions.
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.