In William Landay’s book Defending Jacob, there is a competition to see who is manipulated more: the characters in the book or the reader who is viewing them. If it is a race, the two participants tie at the finish line because this book has a dramatic punch on the last page that drives home the theme of the book with great clarity. My belief is that fan of novels about the law, lawyers or the courtroom will love this book.
The basic plot of the book revolves around the decision made by Andy Barber, as Assistant District Attorney, to take the murder case of Ben Rifkin despite the fact that Andy’s son Jacob attends the same school as the victim. This poor decision spirals out of control when an initial look at a pedophile swings in the directions of Jacob despite the best efforts of Andy to divert attention from his son.
Thematically the book covers such issues as the existence of a murder gene, the sins of the father being passed to the son, the role of parents in the development of their children and guilt, guilt, guilt.
Readers may recognize the author as the talent behind the John Creasy award winning Mission Flats and The Strangler. I cannot believe that everyone who has read this book is not waiting for another effort from this master manipulator.