Tag Archives: ARC

Defending Jacob – advance review

Once again, my Murder and Mayhem in Muskego overnighter has yielded big returns.  I got an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of Willam Landay’s Defending Jacob.  And it was such a compelling read it was all I could do to stop reading for those necessary activities of daily living, such as showering, working, and sleeping.

Assistant DA Andy Barber’s living a nice life in a Boston suburb with the support of the love of his life and Laurie and his 14-year-old son, Jacob.  Their quiet community is rocked by the murder of one of Jacob’s classmates, Ben Rifkin – a popular boy, but a bossy and perhaps even bullying one.  Given the title of the book, it should come as no surprise that Jacob Barber is charged with the crime and the plot centers on the Jacob’s trial.

The shock – and what keeps you reading late into the night – is the backstory and the rippling repercussions.  No spoilers from me, but let’s just say that Andy’s been working hard to overcome a family secret.  Plus, there’s something more going on… Landry’s interweaving another trial with the same prosecutor, but Andy’s a witness, and it’s not Jacob in the docks.  How is this all going to come together?

It does.  Masterfully.  Defending Jacob will be available on January 31, but feel free to pre-order!

Author William Landay has credibility – he’s Boston College Law School grad and former assistant district attorney.  He has two previous books both award-winers:  Mission Flats and The Strangler.  They’re on my bedside table.

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That F-in’ Flowers

Good heavens, that John Sandford is prolific.  I discovered this author in the early 1990s, when his “Prey” series, featuring Minnesota cop cum videogame developer Lucas Davenport, was new.  Since then, Sandford has published 21 in that series (Buried Prey the most recent), as well as four books in the Kidd series, two standalones, and five recent books with private eye Virgil Flowers.  (You can read my review of Bad Blood, a previous Flowers book, here.)

I got the ARC for the new one in the Flowers series, Shock Wave, from Murder and Mayhem in Muskego and it’s hot off the press with an October 4, 2011 publication date.  (Brief MMM plug:  Fun conference, $30 reg fee includes lunch, and my book bag had easily over $100 of new and not-yet-released mysteries.  Awesome.)

I picture Flowers as a young Jimmy Buffet, all inappropriate Hawaiian shirts, long blonde hair, and a devastasting way with the ladies.  Cops who come in contact with Flowers – Davenport’s friend and longtime off-the-record colleague – call him “That fuckin’ Flowers,” primarily because he’s often at the center of any off-kilter investigation.

My Virgil.

Shock Wave has a ripped-from-the-headlines story, wherein big-box chain Pyemart wants to come into a small Minnesota town, upsetting the ecological and socioeconomic balance.   Somebody’s trying to keep them out.  With bombs.  It’s up to Virgil to figure it out.

As always, there’s a potential love interest.  (Amusingly, he explains the sobriquet “that f’in’ Flowers” with faux modesty, explaining he has a certain popularity with the ladies.)  Plot twists and characters who are not what they seem.  Plenty of breezy fun balanced by actual and potential mayhem.

I enjoyed Shock Wave.  Sandford fans will, too, as will anyone who’s looking for a solid PI story with amusing characters.  It’s not deep, it’s not insightful, but it’s fun and perfect for an afternoon’s read, preferably with a warm beverage and a dog by your side.