Defending Jacob by William Landay is both an engrossing legal mystery and a troubled picture of a family cracking apart under the stress of a murder indictment against one of its members.
Andy Barber is an Assistant D.A. who is taken off a sensational murder case when his own teenage son, Jacob, becomes a prime suspect. One of Jacob's classmates is murdered in a local park. Evidence uncovered leads to Jacob's arrest and trial for the killing. Jacob insists he is innocent.
Andy Barber and his wife, Laurie, support their son even as the family become despised outcasts in their own community. But as the Barbers endure the trial testimony, they are forced toward a stark choice: either Jacob is entirely innocent, or their son is a deceptive, emotionless sociopath.
Defending Jacob is a compelling, disturbing read with a hideous twist at the end. Rich in character, the novel is a moral mystery with no comfortable answer.
BEACH RATING: 4 Palm Trees