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Defending Jacob (2012)

by William Landay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,0603413,047 (3.89)206
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. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, and 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)
  1. 60
    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2LZ)
    2LZ: Gone Girl is a mystery and psychological thriller rolled into one. I loved Gone Girl with the exception of the disappointing ending. Both novels were thought-provoking and engaging.
  2. 40
    We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (Booksloth)
  3. 30
    The Client by John Grisham (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These legal thrillers are heavy hitters with emotional depth, developed characters, and frightening revelations. In both, the plot revolves around a young boy's involvement in a murder investigation and trial.
  4. 30
    Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Personal lives are in thrown into turmoil as connections to a murder threaten careers and family relationships. Despite their differences, these two legal thrillers both contain masterfully crafted characterizations and dialogue as well as emotional depth.… (more)
  5. 20
    The Bad Seed by William March (saratoga99)
  6. 20
    Before and After by Rosellen Brown (amyblue)
    amyblue: Both deal with the situation of parents whose child is accused of murder. Defending Jacob deals more in depth with the legal concepts involved.
  7. 20
    Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Both are crime novels set in Massachusetts with extensive focus on the crime's impact on family. However, Mystic River is darker and goes far more in-depth into the crime's repercussions on the families involved.
  8. 10
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (myownwoman)
  9. 00
    The Absence of Mercy: A Novel by John Burley (pdebolt)
    pdebolt: Similar moral dilemma by parents of sociopath killer with different outcomes.
  10. 00
    Sycamore Row by John Grisham (Iudita)
    Iudita: Courtroom drama
  11. 00
    The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben (Sandwich76)
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» See also 206 mentions

English (342)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (346)
Showing 1-5 of 342 (next | show all)
Defending Jacob is a suspenseful thriller about doubts, parenting, and murder. Where does the buck stop? Should parents be held accountable for what their children do? When a fourteen-year-old, Ben Rifkin, is found dead, a fellow high school student, Jacob Barber, is accused of stabbing him to death. But is a child capable of such violence? Are there other factors at play? Andy and Laurie Barber, the parents, can barely navigate what comes next. The author takes us through the investigation, the trial, and a shocking conclusion in this edge-of-your-murder mystery. I highly recommend this one; you won’t be disappointed. ( )
  PaulaGalvan | Mar 2, 2024 |
I'm speechless. I don't even know what to say. It was good in that I could not put it down, but very disturbing. Definitely not a feel good book!
  mjphillips | Feb 23, 2024 |
Suspense
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
KIRKUS REVIEWLanday does the seemingly impossible by coming up with a new wrinkle in the crowded subgenre of courtroom thrillers.Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber is called to a gruesome crime scene after Ben Rifkin, a 14-year-old boy, has been brutally stabbed in a city park. One suspect seems likely, a pedophile who lives nearby and is known to frequent the park, but suspicion turns quickly to another, much more unlikely, suspectĄAndy?s son Jacob, one of Ben?s classmates. It seems Ben was not the paragon of virtue he was made out to be, for he had a mean streak and had been harassing Jacob...but is this a sufficient motive for a 14-year-old to commit murder? Some of Jacob?s fellow students post messages on Facebook suggesting he?s guilty of the crime, and Jacob also admits to having shown a ?cool? knife to his friends. When Andy finds the knife, he quickly disposes of it, but even he?s not sure if he does this because he suspects his son is innocent or because he suspects his son is guilty. Complicating the family dynamic is Laurie, Jacob?s mother, who?s at least half convinced that her son might indeed be capable of such a heinous actĂ‚ÂĄand it turns out Andy has concealed his own past from Laurie because both his father and grandfather have been murderers, and he fears he may have both inherited and passed down to Jacob a gene associated with aggressive behavior in males.Landay is yet another lawyer-turned-writer, and it?s inevitable that he?ll be compared to Scott Turow, but this novel succeeds on its own merits.
  bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |
Engrossing page turner. Some interesting surprises. Will look for other books by this author. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 342 (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.
Quotations
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, and 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.

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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.

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