Defending Jacob - William Landay This was somewhat of a departure from my usual genre, but it was well worth the read. In a cozy suburb in Massachusetts, small town life is turned upside down when a 14-year-old student is found murdered. Assistant district attorney Andy Barber is determined to bring the killer to justice, but is completely blindsided when it turns out that his own son is the one charged with the murder.

You don't have to be privy to the procedures of a courtroom or lawyer-speak to enjoy the story. Defending Jacob may be a legal suspense/thriller, but at the heart of it it's also a family drama. It poses a lot of discussion points; the number one question is, of course, whether or not a parent can be completely objective when it comes to his own child. I think this book tackles this conflict very well, and you live it through the eyes of Andy, a classic case of an unreliable narrator if I ever saw one.

I have to admit that none of the characters struck me as particularly likeable, and that really played havoc with my feelings about this novel. However, it does ramp up the suspense quite nicely. As I read, I was kept wondering if Jacob did it or not, even as he insisted on his innocence to his parents. But it got worse as the story unfolded and more information was revealed about Jacob that just really creeped me out. All the while, Andy continues to deny that his sweet little boy can be capable of murder, in a way that just broke my heart even as I was cursing him for an idiot.

Finally, there was a little "twist" at the end that shocked me a little, though I'm not sure if it was the best way to conclude the novel. It would probably be accurate to say I was unsatisfied by the ending, but nonetheless the book is still a compelling read.