Defending Jacob

I have seen this book come in and out of our library regularly. Patrons and friends have asked me to read it.  I wish I had taken the time earlier to read Defending Jacob by William Landay, because it has been one of my most satisfying reads in a long time.

The story takes place in Newton, Massachusetts. The narrator describes it as an upscale community where crime is almost non-existent, until fourteen year old Jacob Barber is accused of murdering his classmate Ben Rifkin. Jacob is the son of District Attorney Andy Barber who has been serving his community for the past twenty-two years. Andy decides to defend his son Jacob rather than pursue in charging him for murder. Jacob tells his father he is innocent, but as Andy begins to piece the information together more evidence is pointing at Jacob as the murderer.

I feel like if I reveal anything more about the plot I will be giving away too much. What makes Defending Jacob so special? Not only are we getting some of the best court room drama in this book, but the family drama is just as intriguing. Witnessing a father defend his fourteen year old son for murder, and having the mother of Jacob not agreeing with her husband’s tactics causes a lot of dramatic tension between the characters. The book really raises the question, is violent behavior inherited or is it learned? This book is really dark, depressing, and twisted. It is a novel that is hard to get out of your head even after you have finished it. This is a must read!