Friday, December 20, 2013

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.
William Landay wove a story that I enjoyed despite not liking any of the characters.  Despite the unoriginality of the storyline I couldn't put this book down.  Landy's pacing was spot on and I enjoyed how he broke up the book with different texts to show the current timeline, the father, Andy, sitting in the witness box being examined by a prosecutor, vs. everything that happened leading up to the trial. 
Defending Jacob is told from Jacob's fathers point of view, Andy Barber.  He, like the other characters, is greatly flawed.  He is simply unable to see anything negative about his son.  This is deeply contrasted by how the mother views her son.  It left me feeling like Landay wrote the two extremes in parenting.
Landay spends a lot of time on the murder gene.  This is the first time I have ever heard of this type of behavioral phycology.  It really got me thinking about what might be hidden in my genes and if I believed in this or not.  I enjoy books that make me think and this one did.  It also scared me because this family on the surface appeared close but none of them really knew each other at all.  How well do I know my family?
Mystery/thrillers are not really my genre so I can' say if this was a good one or not.  What I can say is that I enjoyed this book despite the wide open ending.  If you are okay with there not being a definitive answer on "who done it" this is a great novel for character development, the ties that bind or unbind a family and how secrets can destroy everything. 
I am linking up with Art @ Home's Literary Friday
come join us! 
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Art @ Home said...

This sounds veyr good, Caroline. Was this one of the book club selections @ the library? I was planning to go to the coffee on Wednesday, but I had to take Shelley to an emergency dental appointment. I wanted to see what the fiction selections will be for 2014.

Fantastic review, and I'm very intrigued because you couldn't put int down in spite of not really liking the characters.

Thanks for linking-up, Sweetie!


Georgie Horn said...

I love mystery thrillers, I'll have to put this on my to read list. could you do me a favor? I'm asking my bloggy friends for help. I've entered a $100 contest and need last minute votes. Would you stop by this link and vote for me. THANK YOU!!