Friday, July 19, 2013

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Defending Jacob is meant to be a legal thriller that traces the trial of Jacob Barber, a 14-year-old boy on trial for murdering a classmate. His biggest problem, his father is the DA, Andy Barber and with a dad in the legal system, getting a fair and just trial can be a challenge. Add to this an "up and comer" that wants his father's job and vehemently prosecutes with questionable tactics for his 15 minutes of media fame and you end up with a novel that is far more about parenting and what you'd do to save your child than you do a legal thriller.

Small plot spoilers!!!

Jacob is guilty. A reader will figure this out in about five seconds of reading the book. But, what is intriguing in the novel is the difficult and painful journey the reader watches his father Andy take. The denial is amazing, the inability to see your child through the eyes of anyone but yourself, the lack of willingness to accept the obvious signs that have been there all along (ignoring the tortured cat screeching in the night). Landay leaves plenty of clues along the way for Andy Barber to accept the heinous act his son Jacob committed...born of Cain and all of that...but Andy holds fast to denial until the very end. Makes you wonder - as a parent - what would you do?

I found the novel interesting and I appreciated some of the legal jargon I learned throughout the book. I loved Jacob's lawyer (once Andy was no longer allowed to be in charge of the case) and his quiet command of the court room - not a boomer, but a whisperer, a man you had to lean in close to hear. He may have been my favorite guy throughout the book. The ending - well - I was annoyed somewhat. But, that is a plot spoiler I won't reveal.

Defending Jacob is quick read, perfect for a summer weekend.  Enjoy!

For more about William Landay and other books he's written, visit his website at:

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