Oct. 24, 2011

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.

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