A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.
Defending Jacob, by William Landay (Delacorte):
Prior to his writing Mission Flats (2003) and then The Strangler (2007), Landay was an assistant district attorney in New England, so he understands the procedures and pressures involved in that position. Which lends genuine authority to his portrayal in this book of Andy Barber, a 51-year-old suburban Massachusetts ADA whose teenage son, Jake, becomes the prime suspect in the slaying of a fellow high-school student, a bully named Ben Rifkin. Even his friends think Jake might be guilty. Andy and his wife, Laurie, have their own doubts about their antisocial, sometimes strange son, but they struggle to keep him out of prison, even disposing of crucial evidence. The case weighs heavily on the Barbers’ marriage--especially when a pattern of violence in Andy’s ancestral past comes to light, a pattern that may boost the prosecution’s case against the boy. Defending Jacob is an emotional roller-coaster ride through a family’s slow destruction.
READ MORE: “No Easy Answers in Landay’s Legal Thriller,” by J. Kingston Pierce (Kirkus Reviews).