Defending Jacob is a Tour de Force

I recently disappeared into the world of Defending Jacob, and the experience was nothing short of delicious. William Landay has written a treasure of a novel, one that I won't forget any time soon.

It's hard to add to the numerous accolades. Like others, I didn't foresee most of the plot twists. Andy Barber's father, for example, was a real gotcha.

Like others, I found the characters totally engrossing. Laurie Barber was brilliant—I'm reluctant to say too much so I don't spoil the fun for readers who have yet to find Defending Jacob. But Laurie was elegantly crafted. And even though I gasped at the last page, I believed every word.

What struck me most, however, was the way Bill described a family's duress when caught in the crosshairs of justice. It all rings true. I'm researching a piece of non-fiction now and have spoken with a number of real families about their encounters with the courts. Bill nailed the emotions, the feelings, all the trauma that comes from mounting a legal defense.

I cared about Andy Barber's family, even when I learned the truth.

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