Synopses & Reviews
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.
Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own — between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he's tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.
Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis — a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.
"Andy Barber, a respected First Assistant DA who lives in Newton, Mass., with his gentle wife, Laurie, and their 14-year-old son, Jacob, must face the unthinkable in Dagger Award winner Landay's harrowing third suspense novel. When Ben Rifkin, Jacob's classmate, is found stabbed to death in the woods, Internet accusations and incontrovertible evidence point to big, handsome Jacob. Andy's prosecutorial gut insists a child molester is the real killer, but as Jacob's trial proceeds and Andy's marriage crumbles under the forced revelation of old secrets, horror builds on horror toward a breathtakingly brutal outcome. Landay (The Strangler), a former DA, mixes gritty court reporting with Andy's painful confrontation with himself, forcing readers willy-nilly to realize the end is never the end when, as Landay claims, the line between truth and justice has become so indistinct as to appear imaginary. This searing narrative proves the ancient Greek tragedians were right: the worst punishment is not death but living with what you knowingly or unknowingly have done. Author tour." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Defending Jacob is smart, sophisticated, and suspenseful — capturing both the complexity and stunning fragility of family life." Lee Child
"Powerful...leaves you gasping breathlessly at each shocking revelation." Lisa Gardner
"A page-turning, stomach-clenching exploration of family." Chevy Stevens
"Like John Grisham and Scott Turow, Landay is a lawyer with a solid grasp of how to use courtroom scenes to advance his jigsaw-puzzle story....with a grabby premise and careful plotting, he keeps you turning the pages through the shocking gut-punch of an ending." Entertainment Weekly
"[Landay] reaches a new level of excellence with this riveting, knock-your-socks-off legal thriller. With its masterfully crafted characterizations and dialogue, emotional depth, and frightening implications, the novel rivals the best of Scott Turow and John Grisham. Don't miss it." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Landay turns out to be creating a clever blend of legal thriller and issue-oriented family implosion...nothing is predictable. All bets are off." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
About the Author
William Landay is the author of The Strangler, a Los Angeles Times Favorite Crime Book of the Year, and Mission Flats, winner of the Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel and a Barry Award nominee. A former district attorney who holds degrees from Yale and Boston College Law School, Landay lives in Boston, where he is at work on his next novel of suspense.