The endings of most books are, at best, satisfactory. The author has written a good book, kept your interest throughout and is now simply tying up the loose ends to bring the novel to a close. Most attempts at “surprise” endings don’t quite make it. You have either seen it coming or the ending doesn’t make sense in respect to everything that has come before it. Defending Jacob is a book with an ending that clobbers you over the head when your back is turned. You didn’t expect this and you simply go, “wow”!
William Landay is a former District Attorney so he knows his way around a courtroom and the law. This expertise has helped him create a riveting story of murder in a Massachusetts town where the accused killer is the son of the District Attorney. Andrew and Laurie Barber are out to prove their son, Jacob, is innocent of the charges against him. Jacob would not and could not have knifed his classmate Ben Rifkin in the woods behind the school.
As with any good story there are plots within the plots and there are many of them in Defending Jacob. The Barber’s shattered world is the fragile platform on which they look for clues that will free their teenage son. As one parent never loses hope of Jacob’s innocence, the other begins to falter in their belief. As a reader, you will, at times, side with both of them. As the family and the very town they live in are torn apart by the killing and the trial we are compelled to investigate our own feelings and how we would react if faced with the same dilemma. As we know, and are reminded throughout this gripping account, things are not always black or white and we have to delve carefully among the many shades of grey.
Defending Jacob will keep you turning the pages looking for your own clues. Be careful though, don’t turn your back as you near the end, because William Landay is approaching you from the rear and, trust me, he is going to clobber you on the back of the head. When I came to, I gave this one **** four stars.