I am not a big fan of courtroom dramas, I have vicarious experience of the world of lawyering and it never matches the hype that you see on television or read in books.
Thankfully and skilfully, Landay keeps the courtroom scenes to a minimum, using deftly placed cut scenes to heighten the drama and to provide a balance to the first person narrative of the book’s protagonist Andy Barber, Jacobs father.
Jacob Barber is on trial for the murder of Ben Rifkin a classmate and bully. Andy Barber, his father is or was the Assistant DA and his involvement early in the case complicates matters somewhat. Combine this with a young prosecutor eager to have a career launching case and community that treats the Barber’s as outcasts and you have a drama that is impacting the protagonist at every turn.
Did Jacob do it?
Did Jacob do it? It’s the question that the reader is confronted with before even opening the book. Landay draws us into Andy Barber’s life, his family and his dark past. As the mystery of who killed Ben Rifkin unfolds we watch his family implode.
The first person narrative is perfect for this story. Landay draws the reader in close, an invisible observer on Andy Barber’s shoulder and by the end of the book, emotionally if not rationally you are as reluctant to see Jacob as the murderer as is his father.
Never a dull moment
Though lacking the pacing of a thriller novel, there’s never a lull in tension. The reader as with all mysteries, is constantly trying to piece any clues together and Landay never quite hands you the full answer. Much as in reality the truth can be hard to determine.
In summary, it’s a fine, suspenseful drama that will drag you into its confidence, a book that you will have to finish. The end holds a twist, but for some reason I didn’t find it as emotionally gripping as others have. Nonetheless it will leave you pondering, weighing probabilities and questioning your judgement.
This book was provided to me at no cost by the publisher.
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