Advance reader reviews of Defending Jacob by William Landay.

Defending Jacob

A Novel

By William Landay

Defending Jacob
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jan 2012,
    432 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book


Page 3 of 4
There are currently 24 member reviews
for Defending Jacob
Order Reviews by:
  • Jennifer F. (Saratoga, CA)


    Fast paced, exciting thriller
    Reminiscent of a John Grisham novel, William Landay's Defending Jacob kept me turning the pages late into the night. The characters are believable and the writing moves along, although the ending is a bit predictable.
  • Arden A. (Lady Lake, FL)


    Can You Love Your Children Too Much
    Jacob was a quiet 14 year old kid who did not go around with the “in” crowd. He didn't have a lot of friends; he was “bullied.” And his grandfather was a murderer. Is violence genetic? Does it skip generations? Or can it be suppressed, while lying latent, waiting for some provocation. Is there such a thing as a “murder gene?” What responsibilities lie with the parents when faced with the accusation that their child may have committed murder? All of these questions come into play in this absorbing, well-written novel, which story rotates between the transcript from a Grand Jury testimony and the prior events that took place place following a murder. It offers thought-provoking insights into marriage and parenthood, and dealing with very difficult circumstances, and it is an excellent read.
  • Freya H. (Phoenix, AZ)


    Defending Jacob
    I found it difficult to put this book down. Each time I tried, little questions kept niggling, thus many things were set aside until the last page was read. The characters were well developed, the plot engrossing, and the ending so thought provoking.

    I would certainly recommend this book, and think interesting discussions could evolve in any Book Group.
  • Melanie B. (Piedmont, SC)


    Defending Jacob
    This is one of the best courtroom dramas I've read in quite awhile. Fast paced, energetic, touching and disturbing on more than one level. As the story unfurls, you're along for the ride as Jacob's father recalls events and the author does an amazing job evoking the shock, sorrow and suspicion surrounding the murder and the vastly different effects it has on several characters. The last few pages of this novel are absolutely stunning and I thought about the conclusion long after I finished the book.
  • Elly M. (Roswell, NM)


    Defending Jacob
    William Landay's "Defending Jacob" is a fast-paced, compelling novel of suspense and familial dynamics centered on an almost impossible situation to imagine. All characters were so well developed that they appeared in my mind's eye without effort. I had no trouble feeling the emotions of all and, thus, found myself stopping now and then to dwell upon what I had read. Not for long, however, as I was moved to continue the journey of this family's dilemma. Well written, it possessed the push-pull effect found in many good paintings. The ending left me dazed, but thoughtful ... and wondering. Could there be more?

    I would definitely recommend this novel to friends and suggest that it would be an excellent book club choice. Lively discussion is sure to ensue.
  • avid (Springfield, IL)


    Stay to the end
    This was described as a "courtroom thriller". I would call it a courtroom drama. It languishes significantly, then presents a satisfying twist at the end to redeem itself. Like Picoult's "Nineteen Minutes", "Defending Jacob" provokes a parent's introspection. How would it feel as a parent to experience this particular set of circumstances? Could this be my child? How would I/my teen respond? If you're going to read this book, you have to commit to finishing it.
  • Robert F. (Charleston, IL)


    Engaging thriller
    I like mysteries, particularly police procedurals, more than so-called thrillers, but this novel is an engaging mix of both. It's very readable: the plot has several twists, but they're not overly complicated or contrived. The story is driven by the narrator, who is brash and intelligent and who has an unusual backstory, which establishes his motives and provides some much-needed sympathy. The idea that secrets come back to bite you is not all that original, but Landay handles that meme in a credible way. I also liked the use of the transcripts from the grand jury; these excerpts furnished an effective counterbalance to the 1st-person narration and moved the story along quickly. I just wish the wife (Laurie) had been given more depth and had somehow been able to speak for herself.
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...
  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.