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 by William Landay
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2012, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2013, 496 pages

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There are currently 33 reader reviews for Defending Jacob
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Jo

Keeps you reading!
This book is a real page-turner! Guilty or a victim himself? An insightful look into the role of parents in the lives of their children. How much would you sacrifice? I liked the presentation of new scientific research which made you stop and think what you would do as a juror in a trial. The ending is a shocker! Very well researched and well written. One of my all-time favorite books!
Eleanor B. Thrope

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.
Power Reviewer Vivian Harrington

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.
Susan R. (North Arlington, NJ)

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!
Patricia F. (Stony Brook, New York)

Defending Jacob...Be Afraid....
Prepare to be hooked from the first pages! Defending Jacob is the best kind of thriller..subtle at first, but then you are along for the ride! A seemingly traditional, ordinary family living their lives and then exposed by a series of events unfolding transforming this "ordinary" family into one exposed through the media and the judicial process. The fright comes from the impact on this "ordinary" family. As a reader, you can't help but think..could this happen to me and mine? Chilling...and highly recommended.
Lisa E. (Cincinnati, OH)

Realistic but Engaging
William Landay, the author of this legal thriller about the son of a prosecutor who is charged with murder is a former prosecutor himself, and this comes through in his portrayal of the courtroom. I used to be a lawyer, and there is nothing more irritating than the Perry Mason moments in legal fiction--the surprise witness, who confesses on the witness stand. Never happens! Landay portrays all aspects of a legal case, from preparation to the trial itself, realistically, yet he keeps the tension high and the pace quick. A great thriller.
Sandy P. (Gainesville, FL)

Well worth the time
This book differed from others (i.e. The Hour I First Believed) in that it brought to light the danger of rumors on social media and the damage they can cause....right into the courtroom. Just when I was beginning to think the plot would dissolve Mr. Landay brought in a few twists to keep interest going, i.e. Who the heck of Father Leary and where did he come from?? I thought the final pages were riveting, sad and yet tied up all loose ends for me. I'll look for Mr. Landay's earlier works.
Dawn Zuber (Canton, MI)

Defending Jacob - excellent read!
Defending Jacob alternates between first person accounts from the point of view of Andy Barber, former assistant D.A., and the transcript of Andy’s grand jury testimony regarding – well, we’re not sure what the grand jury is investigating until the end of the book. Andy tells the story of defending his son, fourteen-year-old Jacob, who is accused of murdering a classmate.

I found it hard to put this book down. Despite being a thriller, it explores family connections, loyalty, and truth. I plan to read it a second time, which, for me, is a very rare reaction to a book.

Beyond the Book:
  Courtroom Drama

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