Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Boston College Law School Class of 1990 alumnus, William Landay, has written an outstanding courtroom novel, Defending Jacob, released last month by Delacorte Press. The book is set in familiar territory. Much of the story takes place in Cold Spring Park, Newton Center and Middlesex County Courthouse in Cambridge. The plot revolves around a Middlesex assistant district attorney, Andy Barber, who is initially assigned to the investigation of the murder of an 8th grade boy who attends the same school as Barber's son. When Barber's son is charged with the murder, Barber is placed on leave and, ultimately, second chairs for the defense in his son's trial. The novel is incredibly fast-paced and examines courtroom procedures, strategies and techniques in an unusual fashion. Barber constantly critiques the prosecutor's performance during the grand jury proceedings and trial, having mentored and taught the younger attorney. The most remarkable aspect of this book, however, is its portrait of a family under pressure. The members of the family in question react quite differently as events unfold and express their love, loyalty and anxiety in very different ways. The main character's voice is realistic and credible.
This book was listed on Amazon's Best Books of the Month for February 2012. It has received favorable reviews. To see the New York Times review, click on the title to this blog entry.