I finished this and typed up my thoughts about it while on a cross country flight, then landed only to realize that everything I’d written was somehow lost because Google Drive failed to save it. What I’d written was brilliant and insightful (naturally), but instead of getting that, you’re gonna get this:
This was a great mystery that had me hooked from the beginning. Graham Moore’s writing is very tight, and I would describe his storytelling as cerebral. It is more about analysis and strategy, and less about emotion and character development. More head than heart. At times, this left me feeling a little cold while reading it, but the plot and themes were so interesting that I could easily look past any chilliness.
This story explores how very gray the justice system can be, especially when it comes to verdicts being decided by juries. The entire process is not about getting to the truth; it is about winning an argument in whatever way possible, including presenting fiction as fact. It allowed me to understand a bit more how juries actually operate and what dirty tactics defense attorneys and prosecutors may resort to at times. I also very much appreciated some of the truthful exploration of racial issues and racial tension in this, as well as how the story highlighted the inequities in our justice system when it comes to socioeconomic status.
The pacing was great, there were some good surprises and the ending wrapped up in a very tidy, satisfying and ‘Hollywood’ type of way. If you like mysteries, thrillers and court room dramas, you should definitely give this a read!!
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.
A huge thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC!