Being a lawyer, I like a good legal thriller. If you’re looking for a legal thriller to keep you up at night, try William Landay’s latest novel: Defending Jacob. Jacob is a fourteen year old boy whose classmate is found murdered. Jacob’s father is an assistant district attorney. You can guess from the title that Jacob gets accused of the crime.
Before I go on, I should point out a few of my biases. I’m friends with the author. Our sons went to daycare and preschool together for many years. So I see bits and pieces of him and his family in the story. (But not that I think Bill’s son will grow up to be accused of murder.) I think I see flashes of Bill, his family, and the community in the book. Maybe that distracted me from the characters or maybe it made me like them more. I’m not sure.
Not being a trial lawyer, I can’t vouch for authenticity of investigative procedures or the trial. Again, with a title like “Defending Jacob” you would expect there to be a trial. You end up with the expected clash between the clash of guilty and not guilty against the question of whether Jacob actually committed the crime.
That’s what kept me reading chapter after chapter. Who was Jacob? Could he have committed the crime? Did Jacob’s father really know who he was? Facts quickly start being revealed, twisting the story through reveals and lies. It pushes the father, son, and mother to the edge until…
Defending Jacob should be on the bookshelf of your local bookstore on January 31 and is also available through Amazon.