“Defending Jacob” by William Landay
Released January 2012
Book Review by Jessica McClenny Waites
The law, the Justice system, the twists and turns of a murder trial is intriguing on its own. “Defending Jacob” by William Landay presents to us a case of a child accused of murder, while at the same time, making us an eye witness to the heartbreaking situation of a family being ripped apart.
Assistant DA, Andy Barber, lives in a pristine suburban community in Massachusetts with his loving wife and 14 year old son Jacob. Yes, the same Jacob of whom the title of the book refers. When a nasty murder of a 14 year old classmate of Jacob’s takes place, the town panics, as any close-knit, suburban community would. The parents of the murdered boy are devastated and the townspeople are determined to protect their children from a murderer. I can give you two questions that generally sum up the beginning of this novel. “Why did this happen to us?” and “How can anyone murder a child?” It’s time for answers.
As assistant DA, Andy Barber, volunteers to take the case. There are no suspects right away and the classmates of the victim are not talking. We are led to the somewhat obvious conclusion that the murdered boy was not a saint. We also find out about a disturbing local man who was nearby at the time of the crime. But, it is not that long before the pretty little world of Andy Barber’s turns ugly when his son’s bloody fingerprint is found on the victim’s shirt. Andy vows to see this through to the end and prove that his son is not guilty.
This is a fantastic premise that seems unbelievable at first. What are the odds that an Assistant DA’s son will be charged with murder? Since we are seeing this through Andy’s eyes, it sounds like an easy ploy to have the main character provide us with all the technical knowledge of the law, while describing to us firsthand the feelings a parent would have in this situation. The author covers his bases and once the accusation of murder is made, it is hard to not want to see this through to the end. Speaking of the end, I will not say what it is, but if you’re a fan of the big twist, you won’t be disappointed.
When you read “Defending Jacob” you will be right there with the Barbers during their nightmare. A couple of shady characters and a big family secret will only throw a few more wrenches into this already bad situation. This is a fast-paced court room drama seen through the eyes of man in the most desperate situation…to save his child. I highly recommend!
Thanks!!! Jessica ;)