Defending Jacob – William Landay

Defending Jacob - William Landay

Defending Jacob – William Landay

This one was selected for me by my book club – it came right after Apple Tree Yard, so I was a bit concerned I might be ‘crimed’ out, but not so I found it a compelling page turner.

Here’s the blurb …

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.

This novel reminded me of We need to talk about Kevin – the mother was suspicious and the father oblivious (although maybe he was just in denial). The story is from Andy’s point of view and he is not a reliable narrator – information is revealed at the trial which show Andy’s actions to be more calculating than he is prepared to admit – disposing of the knife he finds in Jacob’s room, suggesting Jacob should rinse his bathers, etc. There is also a debate about nature versus nurture – is there a murder gene? And what responsibility to society and the community does the family of violent people have? Information is revealed to us slowly through the initial investigation, visits to the Pyschiatrist, and the trials (yes there is more than one trial). I was gripped – how could Andy not know? But what happens at the end was completely unexpected.

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