Past Meetup

The Portsmouth Book Club February - Defending Jacob

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February's pick for the Portsmouth Book Club is Defending Jacob by William Landay. Here is the synopsis from the publisher:

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

Here is a review from Booklist:

A 14-year-old boy is stabbed to death in the park near his middle school in an upper-class Boston suburb, and Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber takes the case, despite the fact that his son, Jacob, was a classmate of the victim. But when the bloody fingerprint on the victim’s clothes turns out to be Jacob’s, Barber is off the case and out of his office, devoting himself solely to defending his son. Even Barber’s never-before-disclosed heritage as the son and grandson of violent men who killed becomes potential courtroom fodder, raising the question of a “murder gene.” Within the structure of a grand jury hearing a year after the murder, Landay gradually increases apprehension. As if peeling the layers of an onion, he raises personal and painful ethical issues pertaining to a parent’s responsibilities to a child, to a family, and to society at large. Landay’s two previous novels (Mission Flats, 2003; The Strangler, 2007) were award winners, but he reaches a new level of excellence in this riveting, knock-your-socks-off legal thriller. With its masterfully crafted characterizations and dialogue, emotional depth, and frightening implications, the novel rivals the best of Scott Turow and John Grisham. Don’t miss it.

We had a nice turnout for The Night Circus meeting this evening. A lot of great points were made and everyone had different opinions and viewpoints. Here is my review: The Night Circus Book Review (http://blogs.seacoastonline.com/seacoast-nh-books/2013/01/04/the-night-circus-by-erin-morgenstern/). Although I loved the book, there were plenty of people who disagreed, and we love the discussion!

Here are the other books voted on for this month which did not get chosen:

Death: A Life (http://www.amazon.com/Death-Life-George-Pendle/dp/030739560X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357699544&sr=1-1&keywords=death+a+life) by George Pendle

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod (http://www.amazon.com/Winterdance-Fine-Madness-Running-Iditarod/dp/0156001454/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357699569&sr=1-1&keywords=winter+dance) by Gary Paulsen

The Light Between Oceans (http://www.amazon.com/Light-Between-Oceans-Novel/dp/1451681739/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357699639&sr=1-1&keywords=a+light+between+oceans) by M.L. Stedman