Defending Jacob

Now on Apple TV+

Defending Jacon Apple TV+ online poster

Details here.

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Defending Jacob trailer

Coming April 24.

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South End, June 10: Last appearance for the summer

South End poster

Coming to Brookline

I will be appearing in Brookline, MA, on March 12 to celebrate the town’s community-wide read of Defending Jacob. I am really looking forward to this event, not just because the organizers have been so gracious, but because it is the town where I grew up and where my family lived for a long time. In fact, my parents met at Brookline High, where I will be speaking. Come join us if you can.

Landay Brookline poster

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Trade paperback pub day

DJ trade paperback

Defending Jacob hits the shelves in trade paperback today. This is the larger paperback format that many readers and book clubs prefer.

It has been an eventful summer for the book. It was nominated for prizes as best crime novel, best legal novel, best thriller, and best mystery of 2012. These are, respectively, the Hammett, Harper LeeITW Thriller and (for best mystery) the Barry and Strand Critics awards — the last of which it won. (The Barry and Hammett Prizes will be awarded in the next few weeks.) It was also named a Massachusetts Must Read Book and nominated for the Massachusetts Book Award.

The book is also this month’s selection for the Target Book Club, for which I (happily) signed ten thousand books. Yes, you read that right: ten thousand. So we have high hopes there, as well.

If you’d like to buy the book in its handsome new edition, you’ll find links to all the online stores here. But, as always, I encourage you to buy from your local independent bookstore if you’re lucky enough to have one.

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Strand Critics Award winners 7.10.2103

Last Wednesday evening in New York, Defending Jacob won the Strand Magazine Critics Award for best novel (details here). Here I am at the award ceremony with fellow honorees Matthew Quirk, who won the Best Debut Novel award for The 500, and Faye Kellerman, who won a lifetime achievement award. A nice night. Many thanks to the Strand. (Photo by yet another best-selling author, Alan Jacobson.)

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Award season

In the last few weeks Defending Jacob has been nominated for three remarkable awards: the Massachusetts Book Award, the ITW Thriller Award for Best Novel, and the Strand Magazine Critics Award, also for best novel. I am deeply flattered and grateful for all three nominations.

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Paperback Pub Day

Defending Jacob paperbackDefending Jacob is now available in paperback. The book hit the shelves yesterday (a couple of weeks ago in the UK). The hardcover keeps selling, too: on yesterday’s paperback publication date, Random House informed me the hardcover would go back to press for a surreal 15th printing. The larger format “trade” paperback will be released in the next few months, as well.

One of the nicer aspects of Defending Jacob’s long run is how the book has been taken up by book clubs. Book Movement, a web site for book clubs — because, as Book Movement nicely puts it, “not all great books are great book club books” — lists Jacob among its top picks for book clubs. I get emails every day from people who have read the novel in their book clubs, and they always tell me the discussion was lively. So the new paperback includes a reader’s guide, which I hope will help spur discussion for clubs as well as individual readers. (Book Movement has assembled a good readers’ guide for book clubs, too.)

In other news, Defending Jacob has been nominated for the Hammett Prize, awarded each year to “a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author.” A very nice honor indeed, for which I am grateful.

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John and Me

John Kenney and me

John Kenney and I have been the best of friends for almost 40 years now, since we met in 9th grade at the Roxbury Latin School in Boston. Now John has published a debut novel, Truth in Advertising, that is hilarious and poignant and has received glowing reviews. (Truth in Advertising also happens to have the greatest book trailer ever. This is what happens when a veteran ad man like John turns his attention to book publicity.)

Recently John and I did a joint appearance at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square (that’s the BPL in the background of that photo), and we met with a reporter from the Globe beforehand to talk about books and how two guys from the same tiny school managed to become novelists. I’m not sure we ever answered that question, really. When we’re together, John and I tend to talk fast, finish each other’s sentences, and laugh a lot. But somehow reporter Bella English managed to turn our rambling conversation into a story, which ran in this morning’s newspaper. Many thanks to Bella and Globe photographer Dina Rudick for capturing such a nice moment. Read it here.

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2012 Wrap-up

It’s been a while since I posted one of these updates, so here are a few year-end developments for Defending Jacob.

  • The novel was named to several “best of 2012” lists, including AmazonBarnes & NobleKirkus Reviews, Toronto Globe and Mail, Kansas City Star, and my hometown Boston Globe.
  • Stephen King included Defending Jacob on his list of “the best books I read in 2012,” in Entertainment Weekly, calling it “the best crime-and-courtroom drama in years.” Very cool.
  • If that isn’t surreal enough for you, Google’s Zeitgeist 2012 list placed the book at #5 and its author #2 among trending search terms for U.S. books and authors, that is, “search queries with the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 as compared to 2011.” Mom, is that you Googling me over and over?
  • The town of Sharon, Massachusetts, chose Defending Jacob for its annual “One Book, One Town” program, which means everyone in town will read the book or face criminal prosecution. Or something. (I will be visiting Sharon as part of the event on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the Sharon Middle School.)
  • And just for fun, my favorite pull-quote from a review: “I am so in love with this book, I would marry it if it asked me.” Now that belongs on the cover of the paperback.

The mass-market paperback edition of Defending Jacob goes on sale February 26. The trade paperback edition (the larger paperback format) is coming in a few more months.

As ever, thanks to all of you for sticking with me. Happy 2013!

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New ad campaign for Defending Jacob in Poland. Akcyza! (That means exciting. I think.)

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On the subway

NYC subway reader

Reading Defending Jacob on the NY subway (via Underground New York Public Library)

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Dispatch from Paris

dj paris metro ad

A cool new advertising campaign for Defending Jacob to run in and around Paris, including the Metro, and train stations all over France. (Courtesy of my French publisher, Michel Lafon.)

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Défendre Jacob, the book trailer

Book trailer for the upcoming release of Defending Jacob in France (Défendre Jacob, available October 11 from Éditions Michel Lafon ).

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Happy 49th


One nice thing about doing an appearance on your birthday: the crowd just may sing “Happy Birthday” to you. This is me conducting the singers at the Duxbury, MA, Public Library last July. It was my 49th birthday. The event was sponsored by the Westwinds Bookshop in Duxbury. (Photo by Julius Prince.)

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Picturing Jacob

I have a bit of a strange request: My publisher is looking for photos of Defending Jacob on display in bookstores. I don’t have any, but I said I’d call out the troops.

So if any of you happen to be in a bookstore in the next few days and you happen to have a smart phone on you, I’d be very grateful if you would snap a picture of the book and send it along. The photos will be used for an in-house presentation at Random House; the idea is to show how prominently bookstores are displaying the book.

To sweeten the pot, the best photo will win a signed first edition of any of my three books — your choice.

Either post your photo here on Tumblr or email it to me direct at Be sure to let me know what bookstore your photo shows.

Feel free to share this message, forward it, tape it to your forehead, etc. The more submissions, the better.

Thank you!

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Bookplates are back

The last bookplate giveaway was so popular, we blew through my supply in just a few weeks. But a new shipment just arrived, and this bookplate is even nicer than the last — beautiful letterpress printing on thick paper. Even better than a plain old signed book. And your showoff friends who read the ebook on their fancy iPads will be sick with envy. (A photo of the full bookplate is here.)

For those of you who missed it the first time around, this is just my way of saying thank you to readers who can’t get to a reading to have their books signed in person. There’s no charge. Just send me your snail mail address and any special inscription you might want (“For Uncle Marvin on his 73rd birthday…”). Reminder: for security reasons, don’t post your mailing address in the comments section. Send it to me in an email (you can use the form here).

Thanks again, everyone.

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Defending Jacob on the Today Show

A nice mention for Defending Jacob on this morning’s Today Show. Thank you, Charlaine Harris. (This is just a brief 60-second clip. You can watch the whole segment here.)


Also this week, Amazon included Defending Jacob on its list of the best books of 2012 so far. Not a bad week.

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Into the Woods

Cold Spring Park

A blog post I did for Random House over on Tumblr:

Does it help to see where a novel is set? Would you understand Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County any better if you actually visited his Mississippi? Is it even possible to understand Dickens if you have no idea what Victorian London looked like?…

The post includes this photo of Cold Spring Park, the setting of the murder in Defending Jacob. More photos of the park are here.

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In case you missed it

On this morning’s “Anderson,” Anderson Cooper’s new talk show, Nicholas Sparks named Defending Jacob his #1 recommendation for summer reading. I’m floored. Thank you, Nicholas Sparks, wherever you are!

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