Friday, May 31, 2013

Bookshelf, Library Bag, or Donation Box

In Bookshelf, Library Bag or Donation Box, our Tators give their verdict on the books they read, whether they're keepers for the shelves, one you borrow from your local library, or just give to your local used bookstore. 

I'm not going to make you wait until the end of this post for the verdict -- I liked it. It's a quick read; I finished it in under 24 hours. Once you crack open Defending Jacob, it becomes quite difficult to put down because it's full of page-turning twists!

I have always liked mysteries -- the first ones I remember reading were Agatha Christie novels. This book takes a step in a different direction. Defending Jacob is a mystery wrapped in a legal thriller. The author, William Landay, has experience with the law as a graduate of Boston College Law School and a former Assistant District Attorney. This really comes through as you're reading the book; you get a sense that Landay has an intimate knowledge of the subject matter as he explains legal terms in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. It doesn't feel forced. Landay's writing is as accessible as a John Grisham novel.

The story is told as a first-person narrative from the perspective of Andy Barber, father to Jacob and first District Attorney in the small town of Newton, Massachusetts. After a local boy is found murdered, finger pointing begins and the Barber family is caught in the cross hairs. The novel follows their struggles as their son, Jacob, is accused of murder. It's about making difficult choices, what we chose to include in our realities, and the importance of family.

Defending Jacob's strengths are the strong voice and guidance of the narrator coupled with a compelling story that always keeps you second guessing. At the beginning, Andy Barber cozies right up next to you and becomes your new best friend. He expertly navigates you through interactions with the community, the police, the courts, and his family. But when doubt creeps into Andy's mind, it creeps into yours, too.

There were some problems with the book -- one of which was Jacob's mother Laurie and how she was written. She was very one-dimensional, something I wasn't expecting from a small family unit facing adversity. I don't want to outline any more because then I'd just be getting nit-picky and end up spoiling the book. The less you know when you start, the better!


Library Bag. Overall this was an engaging read. I'd recommend borrowing it from the library if you're looking for a suspenseful summer read.

You can read more about the author on his website or chat him up on Twitter.

[Thank you to the author for making the image of his book available for reuse.]

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