Review ~ Defending Jacob by William Landay


  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 31, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0385344228
  • I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

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.

My thoughts (which I've kept short so I don't give away too much of this great book!) 

When I closed the last page of this book, I sat there and went "whoa".  I couldn't believe the journey the story had taken me on. This story is that of Andy Barber, an ADA in Massachusetts, who makes the choice not to assign another prosecutor the case of a fourteen-year-old boy who had been found murdered in a local park, but to prosecute it himself, despite the fact that others feel he should step down since his son went to the same school as the victim. He doesn't feel there is a conflict of interest because his son claims to have only known the victim in passing. But when Barber’s son is arrested and charged with his classmate’s murder, Andy is forced to step down from the case and he is placed on leave.  Andy suddenly finds himself in a place he never thought he’d be – on the other side of the courtroom, at the defense table.

One of the main focuses of this book is the issue of nature versus nurture – how much your upbringing and your DNA factor into the person you become. Can the sins of your family’s past (nature) become yours of the present, even if you never knew about them when you were growing up (nurture)?  How blind can you be when looking at your children and the potential mistakes that they’ve made?  Do you really only see what you want to see? Does unconditional love truly know no bounds?

What follows is an emotional story that is part courtroom thriller, part mystery, and a whole lot of family drama. All of which combine to create an emotionally packed tale of one families struggle to not only believe in their child and what's he's told them, but to find a way to save him and their family unit. At any cost.

About the author ~ 

William Landay is the author of the novels Mission Flats and The Strangler. The first won the Dagger Award as best debut crime novel. The second was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of the year. 



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  1. Donna Rondo says:

    this looks like a great book I hope to be able to get a copy to read. looks like a great read right up my alley

  2. I really enjoyed your review, detailed and interesting without spoilers. Keep up with the the good work!

  3. Sounds like a “must read”!!

  4. Donna Rondo says:

    sounds like a great book. I hope to be able to get a cope and read it. i really do. this is one of the kind of books i love to read. it is right up my alley.

  5. Great review, Lori. As you know I loved this one too. I was so shocked by the ending. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.
    Cheryl C. Malandrinos recently posted..Guest Blogging at Cafe of Dreams!My Profile

  6. Sophia Rose says:

    This sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing your review!

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