Reader reviews and comments on Defending Jacob, plus links to write your own review.

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Defending Jacob

A Novel

By William Landay

Defending Jacob
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jan 2012,
    432 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2013,
    496 pages.

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There are currently 30 reader reviews for Defending Jacob
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yiayiatexas (01/17/14)

Similarities? Deliberate or accidental?
While I always enjoy a good murder/trial mystery, reading this book left me with several questions all along and even at the end. Does anyone besides me see striking similarities in Jacob's character with the character of Dexter in the television series? Is/was there actually a psychiatrist by the name of Elizabeth (?) Vogel who specialized in the study of the "murder gene"? Is Landay associated somehow with the script writers of "Dexter", or did the script writers "borrow" his theme?
Eleanor B. Thrope (09/30/13)

Defending Jacob
When I was a college student in the forties with a major in psychology, the constant argument in that time by the professionals was Nature versus Nurture, heredity versus environment. I was then and still of the opinion that Nature (Heredity) wins out.
The book was fascinating reading and held my interest, so much so that I stayed up very late every night to read it. I usually am in bed by 9:30. It reinforced my opinion that heredity determines ones destiny.
HHS (05/27/13)

Needed more at end from Jacob
Needed more of a solid confession/admission from Jacob (at the end). It was really frustrating to not have that & be guessing based on the narrative alone... Obviously we all know from the animal abuse/torture that he's sick & he probably did it, but we needed more from him at the end....
Becky H (05/26/12)

Boring beginning and middle
I almost quit reading this book several times, only the glowing reviews kept me going. The first 3/4 of the book had me wondering why anyone would think this whiney, self-serving and self deluded man would be a good ADA. Jacob and Laurie were simply afterthoughts. Only the last 1/4 was interesting and by that time I knew what the ending would be.
If you really, really like psycho babble and navel gazing you might like this book, otherwise skip it.
rob (03/20/12)

overrated
Good concept for a book, however parts that drag out with too much description. Create your own ending, because the one it ends with is fast and disappointing. The murder genre is good writing. Bullying, good topic. Not as good as critics say.
Vivian Harrington (03/18/12)

Is There a Murder Gene?
This book was far more fascinating than I'd expected with a focus on family dynamics and what happens to a seemingly normal middle class family when an only child is charged with murder. I can't imagine anybody reading this story and not wondering if this could happen in his family. How does one react when the community treats the entire family like pariahs? How can both parents look at their child and recall a completely different childhood? Is it possible he is guilty? If yes, what did we do wrong?
Is there something in the genetics which predisposes a child to violence? I really loved this book and eagerly look forward to Landay's next effort.
Lisa H. (Alamo, CA) (11/10/11)

Very Good book
I definitely enjoyed this book, although not a home run in my opinion. Mostly because it didn't grab me right away. But I must say, once it started picking up speed I was engaged and enjoyed the twists and turns. At the center of the story is the dilemma in which the parents' love and loyalty is questioned to the utmost. I think this is a good vacation read and may be enjoyed by young adults as well.
Susan R. (North Arlington, NJ) (11/09/11)

Much better than the typical thriller. Not generic or stock story lines.
I haven't been able to get through any book for at least 6 months - it's been a real dry spell, but when I saw this book on the Book Browse web site, I was immediately attracted by it and requested a copy. I'm glad I did - it's the first book I have finished in a long time. I've put down Oprah bestsellers half to two-thirds of the way through, but not this book. It is well written, not difficult to follow the plot or remember the characters (which is sometimes a problem when the author chooses to give everyone a name starting with the same letter). Don't misunderstand, it is definitely not simple. Mr. Landay is very careful to ensure continuity in his story. The plot is unusually interesting with no confusing parts (I didn't have to flip back and forth to figure things out). The story is clearly articulated and quite unique in my opinion. I liked the characters, especially Andy. My only request of the author would be to develop Laurie and Jacob's personalities an ounce more. The book was never boring, and there were a few surprises in the end which gave me the goosebumps. I am not generally a fan of legal thrillers or murder mysteries or courtroom drama, but this book was quite excellent and has every potential to be a best seller!! I'm not a librarian or book store owner. I am a nurse not too far from retirement (I hope) and was simply looking for a good read and it was! Enjoy!

Beyond the Book:
  Courtroom Drama

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