During winter break I reread a book that continues to keep me engaged and anxious to turn the page with every read.
Defending Jacob by William Landay, is the deceptively remarkable story of a 14 year old boy named Jacob who is accused of murdering a fellow classmate. When the bludgeoned body of the murdered middle schooler is first discovered, it is Jacob’s father Andy, the city’s Assistant District Attorney, who takes charge of the investigation. When evidence appears to point to Jacob, Andy is removed from the case and finds himself defending his own son from the charges pressed. Like any parent, he believes strongly in the innocence of Jacob despite the build up of evidence, tensions between neighbors, friends, and eventually even his wife. Doubt begins to creep in and Andy’s devotion as a parent to his son is tested. How well does a parent really know their child and how far will they go to protect them?
This well-written thriller is powerful, complex, and shocking and puts a family to the ultimate test while also addressing questions concerning whether the human capacity for violence is an inherited trait, or something we learn. I’m sure the twist at the end will leave you speechless; I know I was.