Jack Cheng's Reviews > Defending Jacob

Defending Jacob by William Landay
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Oct 27, 2012

Read in October, 2012

Enjoyable legal thriller set in my current town of Newton (not only that, I think the author must live pretty close to me because he references the closest park, Starbucks and Peet's Coffee, but that's neither here nor there).

Andrew Barber tells the story of a local murder: his son becomes a suspect and Andy, an assistant district attorney, suddenly finds himself on the side of the defense. Lots of tension in the family, especially after Andy confesses a long held secret to his wife. Andy also spends a lot of time doubting the legal system that he participates in -- his knowledge seems to have made him more aware of the mistakes that slip through cracks.

Others I've talked to felt Andy's portraits of his wife and son are a bit thin, but I felt it was an authorial choice that reinforced how biased and unreliable Andy is as a narrator. The scenes of parents trying to understand and communicate with their middle school children is true horror.

For a thriller, I'll give it the highest praise for the praise: I couldn't put it down.

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