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Book Review: Defending Jacob - William Landay

Updated on December 9, 2012
Defending Jacob is one of the finest books of 2012. You can feel the tension mount as you turn the pages. Is Jacob Barber a murderer or just a misunderstood teenager?
Defending Jacob is one of the finest books of 2012. You can feel the tension mount as you turn the pages. Is Jacob Barber a murderer or just a misunderstood teenager?

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Jacob Barber is a typical 8th grade student. Bright but not brilliant. Quiet with only a few close friends. He is the son of the Assistant District Attorney.

When a classmate of Jacob is found stabbed to death in a local park by a jogger the small New England town is devastated. Who committed the crime? edophiles? Was it a hazing which went wrong? Where is the knife? Who wielded the knife?

William Landay draws you into the small community as he tells this fascinating tale of suspense.

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The Story

Defending Jacob is a story told on many levels.

First a story of a murder investigation and trial. When the focus of attention finally settles on Jacob Barber as a potential murderer, Landay forces you to wonder what happens to a family when their son is not just a child, or student or friend. But also a child murderer.

Secondly, a political thriller. Jacob's father the Assistant D.A. is forced into a question of helping his son in the face of the knowledge that the accusation of being the father of an accused child murderer is enough to end his career.

Third. Jacob's father has to reveal his own family secret's. He is himself descended from a family of violent criminals. Can his marriage stand the revalation that he may carry a gene which made his son a murderer?

This book Should be Your Top Read of the Year!

William Landay has created a work par excellance in Defending Jacob.

He marries suspense as you are placed in the jury box at the murder trial. He also masterfully draws in questions of the psychology of a killer and the possible effects of genetics in shaping our actions.

Landay tops off the book with an ending which will have you on the edge of your seat.

Is Jacob Barber a Child Murderer?

Was the DA's office guilty of allowing personal interest to weigh heavily upon the scales of justice?

Should families keep secrets?

Do accidents just happen?

Landay sets out the arguments for you to make up your own mind. You are sure to come away from this book with a new insight into the criminal justice system and also the world of school children.


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