Entries from October 2011

The Just World Hypothesis

“Deep down, we believe this world is essentially just, which is why we look away when it’s not.”

Jonah Lehrer

Categories: Odds & Ends    Tags: ·

Jacob earns a star from PW

More good news today about Defending Jacob: a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

Andy Barber, a respected First Assistant DA who lives in Newton, Mass., with his gentle wife, Laurie, and their 14-year-old son, Jacob, must face the unthinkable in Dagger Award-winner Landay’s harrowing third suspense novel. When Ben Rifkin, Jacob’s classmate, is found stabbed to death in the woods, Internet accusations and incontrovertible evidence point to big, handsome Jacob. Andy’s prosecutorial gut insists a child molester is the real killer, but as Jacob’s trial proceeds and Andy’s marriage crumbles under the forced revelation of old secrets, horror builds on horror toward a breathtakingly brutal outcome. Landay (The Strangler), a former DA, mixes gritty court reporting with Andy’s painful confrontation with himself, forcing readers willy-nilly to realize the end is never the end when, as Landay claims, the line between truth and justice has become so indistinct as to appear imaginary. This searing narrative proves the ancient Greek tragedians were right: the worst punishment is not death but living with what you — knowingly or unknowingly — have done.

I do not get especially high or low about reviews, honestly. I am my own harshest critic, and by a very wide margin. By the time I read a review, I have already lashed myself for every flaw in my book. This is probably not the healthiest way to go through a writing career, but it does have the happy effect of insulating me from critics. Good reviews feel unconvincing, bad reviews feel … well, not bad enough. With all that said, I’ve never understood those artists who simply ignore reviews. I can’t resist reading them.

In any event, I am far from home today — in beautiful Seattle, doing more publicity for the book — so this was very nice news to wake up to.

Categories: My Books    Tags:

Jacob’s English jacket

We have our cover for the British edition of Defending Jacob from Orion Books. I was hesitant about this design at first, honestly, but now I really love it. It’s a completely different look from the U.S. cover, which probably tells you something about the differing sensibilities of American and English readers — though what it tells you, exactly, I have no idea. One thing is clear, even to my American eyes: that is one creepy-looking kid. My thanks to everyone at Orion for such an arresting design.

Cover art for the English edition of Defending Jacob from Orion publishing


Categories: My Books    Tags:


Lou Gehrig


Categories: Sports    Tags: · ·


FYI a Q&A about Defending Jacob — questions posed by Random House publicists, rambling, prolix answers by me — has been added to this site, though it’s pretty well buried. An edited version of this interview was included in the press kit for the book. This is the whole unedited enchilada. You can find it here.

Categories: My Books    Tags:

Quote for the Day

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Elizabeth Stone (1803-1881)

Categories: Odds & Ends    Tags: · · ·

Apple.com today

apple.com screenshot

Categories: Design    Tags: · · ·

Touch the Hem of His Garment

Bobby Orr sweater

Now up for auction: 1972 Bruins road sweater worn by Bobby Orr in the Stanley Cup finals. If you were a kid in Boston in the ’70s, you’d understand.

Categories: Sports    Tags: · ·

Teddy Thompson: In My Arms

Categories: Music    Tags: ·

Face of the Day

Water boatman

Water boatman viewed in reflected light. Photo by Charles Krebs. (Click to view full size.) From the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition 2011.

Categories: Photography    Tags: · ·