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Defending Jacob by William Landay
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Defending Jacob (2012)

by William Landay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0343032,775 (3.9)188
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» See also 188 mentions

English (307)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (310)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
This book is about a 14 year old boy who is stabbed and killed in a park in a small town. The victim has one fingerprint on him and it is the fingerprint of the DA's son - Jacob. The book goes through the case and how his parents struggle to believe that their son, Jacob, didn't do it. The DA's family history comes in to play because his father and grandfather were both violent men.



The book moves through the case and makes the reader waiver about Jacob's ability to commit this crime and being sure he did it. I did enjoy it, and the ending was very interesting to say the least.



So - take time to read this one. It got 7000 reviews on Amazon! ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
I was hooked right from the start of DEFENDING JACOB. The book flew for me - a very fast read. I loved the diversity of the characters and kept wondering who the murderer was. The son, Jacob, was not a character I warmed to, but I appreciated his parents loyalty. The end of the book? Well .... that was interesting. ( )
  loveleelisa | Jan 5, 2019 |
A Massachusetts prosecutor find himself at the defendant’s table when his son is accused of murder. My book club selected this book, otherwise I might not have finished it. It was interesting, but it dragged. The ending had a bit of a twist, but I didn’t think it was worth the wait.

“At some point, as adults, we cease to be our parents’ children and we become our children’s parents instead.” ( )
1 vote bookworm12 | Dec 13, 2018 |
What would you do to protect your child? That is the question that drives the plot of this novel. A 14-year-old boy is killed on his way to school and his classmate, Jacob Barber, is accused of the killing. Jacob's father, Andy Barber, is determined to see that his son is found not guilty. He does everything he can to protect his son. The consequences of those decisions bring about disastrous results. There were times when the reading proved a little onerous but keeping with it to the end was worth the effort.

This is an update to my original review written in April 2013. My book club chose this novel for our May selection so I listened to the audio version of the book this time. I enjoyed the novel for a second time and felt a renewed empathy for Jacob's parents as they watched their child be accused of murder. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
Did not at all see the ending! Loved this book- kept your attention and really left you questioning everything until the end. Will definitely look to read more by this author. ( )
  Chelz286 | Aug 26, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Landayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanssen, KurtTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horsten, TheoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Poulsen, Anne MetteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In April 2008, Neal Logiudice finally subpoenaed me to appear before the grand jury.
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Here is the dirty little secret: the error rate in criminal verdicts is much higher than anyone imagines. Not just false negatives, the guilty criminals who get off scot-free—those "errors" we recognize and accept. They are the predictable result of stacking the deck in the defendants' favor as we do. The real surprise is the frequency of the false positives, the innocent men found guilty. That error rate we do not acknowledge—do not even think about—because it calls so much into question. The fact is, what we call proof is as fallible as the witnesses who produce it, human beings all. Memories fail, eyewitness identifications are notoriously unreliable, even the best-intentioned cops are subject to failures of judgment and recall. The human element in any system is always prone to error.
A jury verdict is just a guess—a well-intentioned guess, generally, but you simply cannot tell fact from fiction by taking a vote.
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Book description
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385344228, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2012: A fast, compelling, and compulsively readable courtroom drama, Defending Jacob tells the story of a district attorney’s son who is accused of killing a classmate. As the father attempts to prove his son’s innocence, Landay explores uncomfortable territory: can a tendency toward violence be inherited? Is the capacity for murder a genetic disposition? The author, a former district attorney, gets the taut nuances just right, capturing the subtleties of a trial in a packed courtroom, where a small rustle or murmur can signify a lot. In the end Landay pulls off a clever plot device that doesn’t reveal itself until the final pages. --Neal Thompson

Featured Guest Review: Chevy Stevens on Defending Jacob

Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Still Missing and Never Knowing.

From the first few pages of Defending Jacob, I knew this book was special. More than an exciting courtroom drama that combines the best elements of a legal and psychological thriller, it also delves into the heart of a family, and will rip yours out in the process.

When a young boy is found brutally murdered in the woods in a peaceful New England town, his body hastily covered with leaves, the community is shaken to its core. No one more so than Andy Barber, a well-respected assistant district attorney whose fourteen-year-old son, Jacob, went to school with the boy. Sure, Jacob is a typical moody teenager, hiding in his room all day with his headphones and lap top, but Andy loves him more than anything in this world--and would do anything to protect him.

While Andy's wife, Laurie, struggles with the possibility that there's a killer on the loose and their own son could be next, Andy's determined to find the culprit and bring him to justice. He immerses himself in a maelstrom of angry parents demanding answers, police hell-bent on making an arrest, and the complicated lives of teenagers, with their own secrets, and reasons for keeping them.

When, in a stunning turn of events, Jacob is arrested for the crime, both Andy and Laurie are stalwart in their defense of their son: there's no way their child could've committed this terrible act. As more shocking facts are revealed and lies uncovered, Andy is pushed to the edge and his twenty-year marriage tested. Beautiful Laura, his college sweetheart and love of his life, begins to fade in front of his eyes, crumbling under the pressure of the trial, the public accusations, and the weight of her own doubts--in her son and her husband. When truths about Andy's past comes to surface, he must chose between the life he thought he'd left behind, and the father he wants to be.

Defending Jacob raises the question: how far would you go to protect your family? But it also leaves you wondering if anyone could answer that question, and whether we really know what we're capable of when push comes to shove.

Let's pray we never have to find out.

Featured Guest Review: Phillip Margolin on Defending Jacob

Phillip Margolin has been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a school teacher, and is the author of 15 New York Times bestsellers. He spent a quarter century as a criminal defense attorney during which he handled thirty homicide cases, including twelve death penalty cases, and argued at the United States Supreme Court. He is a co-founder of Chess for Success, a non-profit that uses chess to teach elementary school children study skills. His latest novel, Capitol Murder will be released in April, 2012.

One perk of being a bestselling author is that you are sent advance reading copies (ARCs) of books by first time authors, or published authors whose editors believe have written a breakout novel. The ARC is sent by the writer's editor in hopes that you will write a "blurb," which is a sentence or two praising the book that can be used in advertisements. The books I blurb range from fun reads to very good reads. Then there is the rare book that knocks my socks off. William Landay's Defending Jacob is one of these gems. It is a legal thriller, but so are To Kill a Mocking Bird, Snow Falling on Cedars and Anatomy of a Murder. Defending Jacob, like these classics, separates itself from the pack because it is also a searing work of literary fiction.

At the heart of Landay's exceptional novel is a parent's worst nightmare. Assistant district attorney Andy Barber, his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob, are living an idyllic existence in a middle class Massachusetts suburb until one of Jacob's classmates is stabbed to death in the picturesque park where the locals jog, walk their dogs and picnic. It soon becomes clear that Jacob is the prime suspect and the Barbers have to confront the possibility that the child they have doted from birth may be a sociopathic killer.

Andy takes a forced leave of absence from his job and helps defend the son he loves from a charge he cannot believe is true. Is he engaging in self-deception? How far will he go to protect his family? Laurie wonders if something she did as a parent has created a monster and her guilt destroys her. And then there is Jacob. Is he a typical angst filled teenager or a psychopathic monster? Landay skillfully keeps the reader guessing about Jacob's culpability and true nature up to the shocking final chapters.

What makes Defending Jacob special is the way Landay gives the reader the twists, turns and surprises found in the best legal thrillers while making its centerpiece the tragedy faced by a normal family who are thrust into a nightmare.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:14 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. When a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: his fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. As the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own-- between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he's tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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