Do You Know What Your Son is Thinking?
By William Landay
Dell Books, 7.99, 476 pages
Imagine you’re a well-respected family living in a tight-knit community. You have a good job as an Assistant District Attorney, a beautiful and smart wife, and a handsome son. Then, envision finding out that your only son, who is just 14, might have murdered one of his classmates – or not. That is the premise of Defending Jacob, the new mystery by William Landay. It’s a page-turning roller coaster ride through the criminal justice system, as well as, an up close picture into the disintegration of a family.
This is an aspect of crime stories I never fully appreciated until I became one: it is so ruinously expensive to mount a defense that, innocent or guilty, the accusation is itself a devastating punishment. Every defendant pays a price.
Landay’s writing is being compared to Grisham and Turow and it is justified. His three-dimensional characters and complex plot development takes the pedestrian mystery genre to the next level and will keep readers on the edges of their seats wondering what will happen next. There are enough twists and turns to keep even the most demanding reader satisfied – just when you’ve got it all figured out, it throws you another curve. The farcical picture painted of our criminal justice system will make you wary, and because Landay is a former D.A., he knows what he’s talking about. After reading this highly entertaining mystery, you won’t even want to get caught jaywalking.
Reviewed by Diane Prokop