In the Grand Jury
Mr. Logiudice: State your name, please.
Witness: Andrew Barber.
Mr. Logiudice: What do you do for work, Mr. Barber?
Witness: I was an assistant district attorney in this county for 22 years.
Mr. Logiudice: "Was." What do you do for work now?
Witness: I suppose you'd say I'm unemployed.
In April 2008, Neal Logiudice finally subpoenaed me to appear before the grand jury. By then it was too late. Too late for his case, certainly, but also too late for Logiudice. His reputation was already damaged beyond repair, and his career along with it. A prosecutor can limp along with a damaged reputation for a while, but his colleagues will watch him like wolves and eventually he will be forced out, for the good of the pack. I have seen it many times: an ADA is irreplaceable one day, forgotten the next.
I have always had a soft spot for Neal Logiudice (pronounced la-JOO-dis). He came to the DA's office a dozen years before this, right out of law school. He was twenty-nine then, short, with thinning hair and a little potbelly. His mouth was overstuffed with teeth; he had to force it shut, like a full suitcase, which left him with a sour, pucker-mouthed expression. I used to get after him not to make this face in front of juries-nobody likes a scold-but he did it unconsciously. He would get up in front of the jury box shaking his head and pursing his lips like a schoolmarm or a priest, and in every juror there stirred a secret desire to vote against him. Inside the office, Logiudice was a bit of an operator and a kiss-ass. He got a lot of teasing. Other ADAs tooled on him endlessly, but he got it from everyone, even people who worked with the office at arm's length-cops, clerks, secretaries, people who did not usually make their contempt for a prosecutor quite so obvious. They called him Milhouse, after a dweeby character on The Simpsons, and they came up with a thousand variations on his name: LoFoolish, LoDoofus, Sid Vicious, Judicious, on and on. But to me, Logiudice was okay. He was just innocent. With the best intentions, he smashed people's lives and never lost a minute of sleep over it. He only went after bad guys, after all. That is the Prosecutor's Fallacy-They are bad guys because I am prosecuting them-and Logiudice was not the first to be fooled by it, so I forgave him for being righteous. I even liked him. I rooted for him precisely because of his oddities, the unpronounceable name, the snaggled teeth-which any of his peers would have had straightened with expensive braces, paid for by Mummy and Daddy-even his naked ambition. I saw something in the guy. An air of sturdiness in the way he bore up under so much rejection, how he just took it and took it. He was obviously a working-class kid determined to get for himself what so many others had simply been handed. In that way, and only in that way, I suppose, he was just like me.
Now, a dozen years after he arrived in the office, despite all his quirks, he had made it, or nearly made it. Neal Logiudice was First Assistant, the number two man in the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, the DA's right hand and chief trial attorney. He took over the job from me-this kid who once said to me, "Andy, you're exactly what I want to be someday." I should have seen it coming. In the grand jury room that morning, the jurors were in a sullen, defeated mood. They sat, thirty-odd men and women who had not been clever enough to find a way out of serving, all crammed into those school chairs with teardrop-shaped desks for chair arms. They...
Author: William Landay
William Landay is the author of The Strangler, a Los Angeles Times Favorite Crime Book of the Year, and Mission Flats, winner of the Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel and a Barry Award nominee. A former district attorney who holds degrees from Yale and Boston College of Law, Landay lives in Boston, where he is at work on his next novel of suspense.
"William Landay makes bold use of his genuine storytelling gift, his amazing ability to craft believable dialogue, and, above all, his extraordinary understanding of what it means to be a husband and father to present us with an unforgettable tale of an ordinary marriage and family in crisis. On the surface this novel reads like a first-rate thriller, but at its heart it's a love story. It's the story of a man who adores his wife and child, but more than that, it's a novel that describes the fine edge between love and madness, and the lies we sometimes tell ourselves. Landay has proven himself to be an extraordinary writer, and Defending Jacob is an amazing novel. Do yourself a favor and read it. It's that good." - Nicholas Sparks
"Powerful . . . leaves you gasping breathlessly at each shocking revelation." - Lisa Gardner
"A page-turning, stomach-clenching exploration of family." - Chevy Stevens
"A stunning novel that will be compared to classic courtroom thrillers like Presumed Innocent and Anatomy of a Murder." - Phillip Margolin
"More than a terrific legal thrill ride, Defending Jacob is an unflinching appraisal of the darkest, most poignant consequences of the love that binds, and blinds, families. It's one of those rare books that call for contemplation and insight along with every breathtaking surprise." - Stephen White
"Landay spins a tale of such complexity and emotion that you don't even realize you're spiraling deep into his world until he spits you out at his shocking, shattering conclusion." - Carla Buckley
"Sensational . . . one of the best books of the year." - John Lutz
"A novel like this comes along maybe once a decade . . . a tour de force, a full-blooded legal thriller about a murder trial and the way it shatters a family. With its relentless suspense, its mesmerizing prose, and a shocking twist at the end, it's every bit as good as Scott Turow's great Presumed Innocent. But it's also something more: an indelible domestic drama that calls to mind Ordinary People and We Need to Talk About Kevin. A spellbinding and unforgettable literary crime novel." - Joseph Finder
"Powerful, disturbing, complex, and gripping, Defending Jacob is impossible to put down. William Landay is a stunning talent." - Carla Neggers
"Riveting, suspenseful, and emotionally searing." - Linwood Barclay
"Brilliantly conceived . . . combines a harrowing family drama with riveting courtroom scenes that make readers feel they are actually witnessing the trial unfold." - Stephen Frey
"A carefully plotted and precisely written thriller about a family put to the ultimate test . . . Defending Jacob is bound to enthrall." - Thomas H. Cook
"Harrowing . . . 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." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[Landay] reaches a new level of excellence with this riveting, knock-your-socks-off legal thriller. With its masterfully crafted characterizations and dialogue, emotional depth, and frightening implications, the novel rivals the best of Scott Turow and John Grisham. Don't miss it." - Booklist (starred review)
"Gripping, emotional murder saga....The shocking ending will have readers pulling up their bedcovers to ward off the haunting chill." - People Magazine (three of four stars)
"Landay has written a legal thriller that's comparable to classics such as Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent....Tragic and shocking, Defending Jacob is sure to generate buzz." - Associated Press
"Do you like a mystery with a good twist at the end? How about one with the literary equivalent of skating's triple axel?....Hang on for that shocking and yet believable ending--with a triple twist you won't see coming." - Portland Oregonian
"Like John Grisham and Scott Turow, Landay is a lawyer with a solid grasp of how to use courtroom scenes - Entertainment Weekly