Defending Jacob by William Landay

86%

22 Critic Reviews

a clever blend of legal thriller and issue-oriented family implosion... nothing is predictable. All bets are off.
-NY Times

Synopsis

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Entertainment Weekly • The Boston Globe • Kansas City Star
 
“A legal thriller that’s comparable to classics such as Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent . . . Tragic and shocking, Defending Jacob is sure to generate buzz.”—Associated Press
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life, his wife, Laurie, and teenage son, Jacob.

Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.

Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

How far would you go?

Praise for Defending Jacob
 
“Ingenious . . . Nothing is predictable. All bets are off.”—The New York Times
 
“Stunning . . . a novel that comes to you out of the blue and manages to keep you reading feverishly until the whole thing is completed.”—The Huffington Post
 
“Gripping, emotional murder saga . . . The shocking ending will have readers pulling up their bedcovers to ward off the haunting chill.”—People
 
“The hype is justified. . . . Exceptionally serious, suspenseful, engrossing.”—The Washington Post
 
“Even with unexpected twists and turns, the two narratives interlock like the teeth of a zipper, building to a tough and unflinching finale. This novel has major motion picture written all over it.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Yes, this book came out in January. No, we are not done talking about it.”—Entertainment Weekly

BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from William Landay's Mission Flats and The Strangler and a Defending Jacob discussion guide.
 

About William Landay

See more books from this Author
William Landay is the author of The Strangler, a Los Angeles Times Favorite Crime Book of the Year, and Mission Flats, winner of the Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel and a Barry Award nominee. A former district attorney who holds degrees from Yale and Boston College Law School, Landay lives in Boston, where he is at work on his next novel of suspense.
 
Published January 31, 2012 by Delacorte Press. 431 pages
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon3
Peak Rank on Feb 26 2012
icon27
Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
10
Want to Read
2
Have Read
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Critic reviews for Defending Jacob
All: 22 | Positive: 20 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
Nov 21 2011

Landay does the seemingly impossible by coming up with a new wrinkle in the crowded subgenre of courtroom thrillers... this novel succeeds on its own merits.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Feb 12 2012

a clever blend of legal thriller and issue-oriented family implosion... nothing is predictable. All bets are off.

Read Full Review of Defending Jacob | See more reviews from NY Times

Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Thom Geier on Jan 27 2012

with a grabby premise and careful plotting, he keeps you turning the pages through the shocking gut-punch of an ending.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Patrick Anderson on Jan 30 2012

an exceptionally serious, suspenseful, engrossing story that deserves and should achieve a large audience.

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Oregon Live

Excellent
Reviewed by April Henry on Jan 28 2012

The courtroom scenes are well drawn, and it's clear that Landay is writing what he knows... hang on for that shocking and yet believable ending -- with a triple twist you won't see coming.

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Newsday

Excellent
Reviewed by AP on Jan 30 2012

Landay has written a legal thriller that's comparable to classics such as Scott Turow's "Presumed Innocent."... Tragic and shocking, "Defending Jacob" is sure to generate buzz.

Read Full Review of Defending Jacob

Chicago Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Julia Keller on Feb 03 2012

my... complaint about the final revelation is that — by the time it comes — Landay has signaled it so flamboyantly and built up to it at such tedious length that readers will be well within their rights to skim.

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NJ.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Oline Cogdill on Mar 25 2012

A breathtaking storyteller, Landay’s rich plot weaves in parenting skills, unconditional love and the law. And the end is one of those shocking twists that is as believable as it is surprising.

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Business Week

Excellent
Reviewed by Laurie Muchnick on Feb 14 2012

Landay does a lovely job setting up the many strands of this complex novel

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Bookin With Sunny.

Excellent
Reviewed by Ann Ronald on May 01 2012

a per­fect exam­ple of legal thriller, com­plete with arrest­ing char­ac­ters and totally unex­pected twists and turns.

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Kansas City Public Library

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy Morris on May 29 2012

this novel combines legal suspense, character depth, shocking plot turns, and an ending that will blow your mind.

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Women's Inc.

Excellent
Reviewed by Susan O'Keefe

This provocative page turner is a must read for those who enjoy adventure and suspense.

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When Falls the Coliseum

Excellent
Reviewed by Lisa Hura on Mar 22 2012

a terrific novel, exploring a damaged family that is living a nightmare... The courtroom drama is interesting, the investigation is surprising, and every page held my complete attention.

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Crime Time

Excellent
Reviewed by Barry Forshaw

If Turow's Presumed Innocent remains the definitive legal thriller, Defending Jacob is one of the most accomplished entries among the army of similar books that have followed in the wake of Turow.

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Rhapsody in Books

Good
Jan 31 2012

skillfully done, extremely realistic, satisfyingly suspenseful, and very thought-provoking

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The Mystery Reader

Good
Reviewed by Andy Plonka

a novel that deserves to be read for multiple reasons... Many lively book club discussions could arise from an examination of the Barber household.

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Kritters Ramblings

Good
Reviewed by Kritter on Mar 30 2012

the twist ending... takes you completely by surprise and is almost a sucker punch to the gut. Because of this twist ending, this book is a terrific ride to the very last page.

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Mrs. Q Book Addict

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer on Mar 07 2012

the story was well planned, and well executed... a great legal thriller

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Reviews by Molly

Good
Reviewed by Molly on Feb 27 2012

This is most definitely, beyond a 5 Book worthy novel. I highly recommend this novel of suspense, intensity, and family drama like no other.

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Liquid Hip

Good
Reviewed by Richard Becker on Apr 26 2012

The book is near perfect from start to finish, impossible to predict, and difficult to put down once it gets going.

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In Real Life

Below average
Reviewed by Erin on Feb 09 2012

I didn’t like the characters. Not a one of them. I found them melodramatic and overwrought, and not sympathetic in a manner to which I could relate... and... I figured out the ending way too early, so I wasn’t surprised at all.

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Psychotic State Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Lori on Feb 28 2012

a compelling and thought provoking book... The writing is near flawless and author William Landay tells this story with a simple poignancy that packs an incredibly powerful punch.

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