Today is Sunday. Let’s review the week’s surreal Defending Jacob news.
In Monday’s Times, Janet Maslin reviewed the book, which left her “wondering whether this book’s author, William Landay, a former district attorney with two well-received novels behind him, has developed the chops to catapult himself into the Scott Turow tier of legal-eagle blockbuster writers.”
Wednesday the Times released its latest bestseller list (to appear in the print edition on February 26). Defending Jacob actually climbed one spot, to number 3. Reuters and Publishers Weekly have the book at number 2.
Friday the Daily Mail published the first review in the UK. The opening paragraph (I am not making this up):
Not since Scott Turow has a crime thriller — any thriller, though this too happens to be a literary legal thriller — shaken me by the throat like this. It’s a stunning, shocking, emotionally harrowing ride in which the reader is plunged into a riveting but terrible murder trial and the equally heartbreaking implosion of a loving family. I had to lie down when I finished it (all too soon) to still my beating heart.
Now that’s a positive review!
Honestly, it’s hard to process all this. In the daily grind of writing, it’s a struggle just to churn out a few pages every day. How the work will be received is something I don’t think about. Like any other writer, I am painfully aware of the limits of my talent and the flaws in my work. This business is humbling enough without worrying about what the critics will say. So I am bemused — grateful, of course, but bemused — at the wonderful reception Defending Jacob has gotten these last couple of weeks. Here’s hoping for another week like last week.
Oh, and one other thing: this week saw a breakthrough in the fine art of book promotion, the Defending Jacob cookie. James Patterson, take note.