Defending Jacob

Movel of the Month

Defending JacobThis novel will get you thinking.  How far would you go to defend a family member, even if they were suspected of a crime?  What if it was your son who was accused of murder and you were actually an assistant DA on the case?
Andy Barber is faced with this challenge, as his son is arrested for killing a fellow student in a park near their residence.  A family secret from Andy’s past rears its ugly head, which could be damaging to the trial.  When he is removed from the case, he tries everything in his power to help his son but a fingerprint belonging to Jacob is the one vital evidence that places him at the scene.
As a result, the Barber’s lives are transformed forever and the family starts to tear at the seams.  Andy’s wife is so troubled and conflicted, in fact, that the ending of the story will completely surprise you.
Landay does a good job of taking legal fiction and making it suspenseful at the same time.  The book is written as if it were a good and twisting episode of Law & Order.  The reader is left to determine whether Jacob is really guilty or not.  Despite all the points against Jacob, could there be a slight chance of coincidence or even bad luck?  You be the judge or jury—the book will leave you rattled, no matter what.

HisLit title read-alikes:
If you read this particular title and wanted something similar, here are a few suggestions.
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
The Dinner by Herman Koch
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

HisLit author read-alikes:
Do you like William Landay’s writing and plots?  Here are three authors who you might also like:
-Greg Iles (His tightly plotted and fast paced suspense novels frequently come with a twist ending, just as Landay’s.  He has written a few legal fiction books as well.  Start with Turning Angel.)
-Steve Martini (He has built his reputation on the Paul Madriani series of “legal procedurals,” dramas written in the police procedural tradition, in which courtroom scenes are often integral.  Start with Compelling Evidence.)
-John Hart (Just as Landay is a former DA, so is Hart a former defense lawyer.  His Edgar Award-winning, character-driven novels focus on sympathetically-written protagonists attempting to make the best of bad decisions and bad luck.  His writing is notable for its sharp turns of phrase, while his descriptions are vibrant and often violent.  Start with The King of Lies.)

The above lists should keep you busy if you have read Defending Jacob and are looking for something similar.  Of course, you can always read Landay’s two other novels, Mission Flats and The Strangler.  Legal fiction can definitely put controversial things into perspective.

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