Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Defending Jacob

Defending Jacob
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.

So here we are again with the mysteries. Courtroom drama, who-dunnit, twisted ending... I'm like a junkie at times when it comes to these types of novels. I start one, and then I can't stop.

Case in point with Defending Jacob. Directly prior to this, I read a Detective DD Warren novel (Catch Me) and right after, I was quite prepared to jump into another book of a similar genre. Then my head cold/sinus infection blew up in my face (quite literally, I assure you) and I just couldn't concentrate anymore. I needed something more light-hearted. Something easy to read. Something that wouldn't make my head hurt - in any sense of the phrase. (But more of that later...)

Because let me tell you - this particular book DID make my head hurt. There are so many twists, that even pre-cold&flu, I was having trouble following them.

What's worse, is that the novel involves teens on trial - something that I've always had a hard time grasping. I remember being a teenager - thinking that everyone was against me, and wanting to snap without really thinking about the consequences. Not that that is ever an excuse for violence, but I do remember what it was like to make stupid decisions. So teen trials always get to me - because how can you tell if they really meant what they did or not? Sure, they still deserve to be punished - everyone needs to fess up in the end - but should some kids really be tried as adults?

Anyway... that's above and beyond the point. I just tossed it in there so you could see just how much this story got under my skin. The author was great at giving the characters enough personality to really let you feel for them: wanting to believe that Jacob was innocent; wanting to believe that Andy was justified in his relentless trust in his son; wanting to believe that Andy's wife was justified in her own fears. Gah - do you know how hard it is to side with everyone? I'd make a horrible member of the jury...

I don't think that I've been this fully engaged in a novel since reading Jodi Picoult's Sing you Home (another courtroom drama! Ha!) and I couldn't put the book down the whole time I was reading it. I dragged it to the bathroom, the kitchen table, to bed... Well, to be truthful, I drag all of my books to those places, but .. whatever.. Let's just say that I really liked this book - the way that it sucked me in and pulled me along - and just leave it at that. Five stars. Go, read it.

Oh - and the 'easy read' that I picked up afterwards while I was sick? That would be A Dog's Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron. Another 5 stars - though that rating may have had something to do with the NyQuil and other medication I was taking at the time...

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