Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Review: Defending Jacob by William Landay
Source: Personal Copy
Andy Barber is a well-respected assistant district attorney, husband and father. When a teen age boy is found killed in a park, Andy is determined to find the murderer and restore the security of his town. He never would have guessed how this case would play out, and change his life forever. As Andy begins to investigate the case, students are hesitant to answer any questions. When students begin to hint that Andy needs to speak with his own son, Andy has no idea why. When shocking Facebook comments and a large knife are found in Jacob’s room, Andy still believes that he is innocent. Andy’s first instinct is to protect his son, but the evidence is piling up and Andy must face facts.
I don’t read a lot of legal thrillers, but this one sounded like a great read. Overall, I really enjoyed the storyline and the struggles each character faced. I thought the story was well planned, and well executed. Jacob is tried as an adult, and his father desperately wants to believe that his son is innocent. His instinct as a father overpowers his instincts as a district attorney. The community has already made their decision, and they do not need a verdict to determine that Jacob is guilty.
Defending Jacob is an emotional roller-coaster. Andy’s defense mechanism is understandable and relatable. How can his son commit murder? He doesn’t think it’s possible, and ignores what is right in front of him. While Jacob is not a likable, relatable character, readers will find themselves empathetic to Andy. He was completely blindsided by the accusation, and vows to protect his son.
The only problem I had with the book was the question of “bad blood.” The idea that Andy’s father and grandfather had committed murder, and for that reason Jacob’s blood was tainted was really unbelievable and unrealistic to me. Overall, the book was very interesting. I think it was a great legal thriller, and I’m willing to explore this genre a little more. It did tend to drag in certain parts, but I was easily caught up in the story.