A teenage boy is found murdered in a park in an affluent part of a Massachusetts suburb. Andy Barber is the district attorney for the area and he also lives there with his wife and his own teenage son. Andy is assigned to the case and he immediately starts working the theory of a pedophile in the area. However, people start to questions whether Andy should be involved in the case, as his son went to the same school as the victim and they knew each other. Andy does not see this as a conflict of interest but there is another DA working a different theory and all of a sudden Andy's son Jacob is charged with murder. Every instinct that Andy has is to protect his son and believe in his innocence. But damning facts come to life and a history that Andy has tried to keep hidden has come to light and may be the fact that seals Jacob's fate.
This is the first book that I have read by Landay and I know that it will not be the last. This book was really really good mystery novel and lawyer procedural novel. I absolutely loved how Landay decided to lay out, and tell the story in this novel, which is from Andy's point of view at two different time. The first is Andy telling the story as it happens and the second is Andy on the witness stand in the courtroom as he recounts what happens and answers questions from a prosecutor, (Neil) who basically makes it known he does not like Andy and wants his job. I think that the two points of view add more dimension to the story and you wonder what type of trouble Andy has gotten into to end up on the witness stand. I also really enjoyed to banter between Andy and Neil as Andy challenges Neil on many occasions as he is questioned.
Andy Barber is a person that you would want as your father or on your side if you were in need of a lawyer. He never wavered in believing Jacob's innocence, and he desperately wanted to believe that his genetics were not the cause of some of Jacob's flaws. He may hold on to hope a little too much and have a little bit of too much forced optimisms with his wife, but he stays strong throughout the novel which made him really likable throughout.
Landay raises an interesting concept in this book of the "killer gene" which predisposes an individual to commit violent acts. It was interesting that it was the prosecutor that wanted to bring in this information when this type of concept is still widely debated in the scientific community. However, the more you get to know the prosecutor Neil you understand that he would do anything to win.
You do wonder throughout the book whether Jacob is guilty or not, there are just so many aspects from the evidence to Jacob's personality that you really will go back and forth throughout the book and the ending I think will shock most people. I personally did not see it coming which made this book that much more enjoyable for me.
Really enjoyed this book and I always like when an author can surprise me, the ending will not be what you expect, I know I was not expecting it at all.. I look forward to picking up another book by Landay. Highly recommended if you like lawyer novels but with a different twist on them.
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