Saturday, September 6, 2014

Defending Jacob -- William Landy --------------------- 4.5 Stars

I was a bit nervous about reading a third book in a row about murder.  I mean, there's only so much you can take, and even though this was fictional, I was worried.  But, I lucked out and read and awesome book in William Landy's Defending Jacob.

This book is an easy, fun read.  Basic premise, the guy telling the story is a district attorney in a small town.  A murder occurs and his son ends up being looked at as a suspect and eventually is put on trial.  The book follows, in real time, what is occurring in his case while jumping back in the past to explain the lead up to the present part of the book.  It's a nice way of writing and keeps you interested on both time lines.

So, why does this seemingly simple, rehashed plot type done many times before, earn 4.5 stars?  Because it does what it does really well.  First, it's an awesome story.  It's got good characters and a superb plot.  It's told in a fun way and it keeps you guessing.  Second, it's got a lot of great dialogue.  As people know, I am big dialogue guy.  So, the exchanges with lawyers and witnesses was superb and the infighting that occurs between the 'good' guys and 'bad' guys was great.  Third, it's an easy read.  Not super long, crisp and fun dialogue.  Lots of chances to put down and pick back up easily.  Lots of exciting chapter endings to keep you going.  Fourth, the book has no major weak spots.  As I was near the end I thought to myself, there is only one thing that can ruin this book and it's a bad ending.  Well, guess what, great ending.  Ties things up well, little bit of a twist.  Truly enjoyable.

So, this sounds pretty great, right?  Well it is.  The only thing is it's not a 5 star book.  It's not epic.  It's not something that you HAVE to read at some point in your life.  It's incredibly entertaining but it's still a simple (although really awesome) legal thriller.  My only small nits worth picking is that the ending doesn't really tie everything together and, on occasion, the book gets a bit slow through it's covering of various parts of the legal proceedings.

Overall, you really want to check out this book if you have not read before.  It was a standout novel and really fun and easy read.  I doubt you will not regret it and will certainly have some thoughts on the ending and what happened.  Enjoy!

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