A riveting combination of courtroom drama and psychological thriller! The story begins in the present day with readers being introduced to Maya Seale, a successful attorney and partner at the law firm where she works. Walking out of the courtroom one day, she’s confronted with someone she hasn’t seen in many years … someone who brings her past very much into the present – a past that she’d hoped would remain buried under the successes she’s achieved since then.
Rick Leonard, who served on the jury with Maya during the notorious ‘Bobby Nock’ trial ten years previously is asking her to join him and the remaining members of the jury for a docuseries that’s going to be filmed to commemorate the anniversary of the trial. Maya flatly refuses. She has absolutely no desire to re-live the events that occurred back then when 25-year-old African American, Bobby Nock was accused of murdering 15-year-old Jessica Silver, and Maya single-handedly managed to turn an entire jury’s opinion from ‘guilty’ to ‘not guilty’, allowing Nock to walk free and making herself and her fellow jurors the most hated people in the country!
However, after a bit of arm-twisting and gentle persuasion from her boss, Maya realises that she actually doesn’t seem to have much choice. And so it is with grim determination that she sets out to join her fellow jurors at the same hotel where they were sequestered for the duration of the trial ten years ago. The trial itself changed the course of their lives. The verdict that they handed down led to their lives being drastically transformed from the ones they had led prior to becoming jury members. If they thought that was bad, re-visiting the past is about to introduce a whole new litany of disruption!
Switching between 2009 and the present, we get to know each jury member and we slowly get to know the story of Maya and Rick, Bobby and Jessica. Graham Moore strings us along, teasing us all the way. Be warned … you WILL lose sleep over this one! You WILL NOT be able to put it down because Moore throws out a line and reels his readers in ever so slowly, and oh so cleverly, ensuring that they will never loosen their grip on the bait! He throws together a cast of such unlikely characters, some of which don’t even play major roles. But even then, he’s meticulous in describing them in detail so that readers don’t miss out on understanding where exactly they fit in his twisting, intricate plot.
The author’s knowledge of the minutiae of the legal system is evident and one must appreciate the manner in which he displays the tricks and manipulations used by both prosecution and defense. I really hope there’s a chance of this being developed for our screens. It would make for brilliant viewing!
This is a gripping 5-star read! Highly recommended, but make sure your schedule’s cleared first – you won’t be able to do anything else once you get stuck into this one!
Graham Moore is a New York Times bestselling novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. His screenplay for The Imitation Game won the Academy Award and WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015 and was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. The film, directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, received 8 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
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