Defending Jacob – William Landay – A Review

So I was in Mobile, Alabama recently for a brief business trip.  During my visit, I wandered into the most delightful little bookstore on Dauphin Street. 

The bookstore, Bienville Books, is just amazing.  Lots of new and many used (many of these signed) were to be found on the two floors.  The staff was over the top wonderfully helpful. 

I found several books and after paying was told I could have an ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy).  There were many from which to chose, but after asking for a recommendation in the legal thriller genre, the owner handed me a copy of Defending Jacob by William Landay. 

I didn’t ask twice.  I took it. 


For reasons that escape and frustrate me, I’d not yet read anything by William Landay but that is now a thing of the past.  (As an aside, I plan on reading his entire catalog and I’d suggest you do the same.)

Landay is a master storyteller with a gift for characters, pacing and dialogue. 

Defending Jacob opens with a former senior assistant district attorney, Andy Barber, being examined before the grand jury. 

We soon learn that in the sleepy bedroom community outside of Boston where professionals come to raise their families a heinous murder has taken place.  A young boy was murdered.  Murdered in the same neighborhood where Barber lives.  The murdered boy was the same age and in the same class as Barber’s son.

And it doesn’t take long to learn that Barber’s son, Jacob, has been arrested for the murder.

The plot builds towards Jacob’s trial but Landay, as he moves us forward, fills in the past while working to bring the reader forward to the grand jury and the testimony being given by Barber.

Oh what surprises await us along the way.

The plot unfolds in the most pristine of fashions.  As you turn each page you’ll have to remind yourself to breath as you wait for the suspense that you find has embraced you to relax its hold so you can recover for the next chapter.

Driven by amazingly complex characters, great dialogue and a razor sharp plot that simply won’t stop, my best counsel would be to run, not walk to the nearest bookstore and reserve your copy today. 

I read and write legal thrillers and pride myself on being able to, if not solve the mystery, at least know where things are going.  In Defending Jacob, I felt like an amateur sleuth trying to find the door to 221B Baker Street.

The book will literally have you guessing until the final page.

If you like classic courtroom dramas, this is the book for you.  It is paced well and would make a great beach read or vacation book. 

Mark your calendars for the February 2012 release.

So while you’re here why not read a chapter from my book or even buy a copy of your own.   A portion of all proceeds from the sale of The Trust will be donated to canine related charities.

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