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review 2016-02-09 20:24
William Landay - Defending Jacob
Defending Jacob - William Landay

William Landay show just how much a father loves his son and what he will to do protect him:

A teenage boy is found murdered in a park in an affluent part of a Massachusetts suburb. Andy Barber is the district attorney for the area and he also lives there with his wife and his own teenage son. Andy is assigned to the case and he immediately starts working the theory of a pedophile in the area. However, people start to questions whether Andy should be involved in the case, as his son went to the same school as the victim and they knew each other. Andy does not see this as a conflict of interest but there is another DA working a different theory and all of a sudden Andy's son Jacob is charged with murder. Every instinct that Andy has is to protect his son and believe in his innocence. But damning facts come to life and a history that Andy has tried to keep hidden has come to light and may be the fact that seals Jacob's fate.

This is the first book that I have read by Landay and I know that it will not be the last. This book was really really good mystery novel and lawyer procedural novel. I absolutely loved how Landay decided to lay out, and tell the story in this novel, which is from Andy's point of view at two different time. The first is Andy telling the story as it happens and the second is Andy on the witness stand in the courtroom as he recounts what happens and answers questions from a prosecutor, (Neil) who basically makes it known he does not like Andy and wants his job. I think that the two points of view add more dimension to the story and you wonder what type of trouble Andy has gotten into to end up on the witness stand. I also really enjoyed to banter between Andy and Neil as Andy challenges Neil on many occasions as he is questioned.

Andy Barber is a person that you would want as your father or on your side if you were in need of a lawyer. He never wavered in believing Jacob's innocence, and he desperately wanted to believe that his genetics were not the cause of some of Jacob's flaws. He may hold on to hope a little too much and have a little bit of too much forced optimisms with his wife, but he stays strong throughout the novel which made him really likable throughout.

Landay raises an interesting concept in this book of the "killer gene" which predisposes an individual to commit violent acts. It was interesting that it was the prosecutor that wanted to bring in this information when this type of concept is still widely debated in the scientific community. However, the more you get to know the prosecutor Neil you understand that he would do anything to win.

You do wonder throughout the book whether Jacob is guilty or not, there are just so many aspects from the evidence to Jacob's personality that you really will go back and forth throughout the book and the ending I think will shock most people. I personally did not see it coming which made this book that much more enjoyable for me.
Really enjoyed this book and I always like when an author can surprise me, the ending will not be what you expect, I know I was not expecting it at all.. I look forward to picking up another book by Landay. Highly recommended if you like lawyer novels but with a different twist on them.

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review 2014-11-10 23:22
Defending Jacob
Defending Jacob - William Landay

I was interested in the story behind Defending Jacob from the moment I read the synopses. As I started reading, I was not disappointed. My interest was engaged all the way through to the end. It had me debating - What would I do if it were my kid? Would I have believed my child possible of such a horrific crime? To what length would I go through to protect him/her? 


I'm usually pretty good at figuring things out in the books I read.

I did figure out early on that Jacob would be found not guilty, although I wasn't sure how. I also expected that there would be another murder to which Jacob would be a suspect. I did not expect the ending, or the actions of Laurie.

(spoiler show)

The fact that this book could throw in some surprises for me was great.


The character consistency is what caused my rating to drop from a 4 to a 3.5. I don't need to love all (or any) of the characters to enjoy a book. However, I do need to feel something for them. And I like characters that are consistent throughout the book. Change is fine (and in some cases desired), but I don't like to see things happen out of character without explanation. When this happens, I have to draw the conclusion that it was for the sole purpose of supporting part of the plot.

For example, Laurie planting a new knife in the pond/lake. If Andy had done it, I would have believed it. However, Laurie just didn't seem the type to plant evidence. Especially so early in the investigation. I don't understand her actions at the end of the novel, however I do feel it could have been possible and was consistent with her 'mental break-down' she seemed to be experiencing. Another action I felt was slightly inconsistent was the moment in Jacob's room when he asked about what would happen to his parents if he left. It just seemed odd that he would care given his attachment issues.

(spoiler show)

There were a few other things that I felt were inconsistent, but it only annoyed me to the point of lowering my rating by 1/2 a point. 


Personally I felt that Jacob was guilty. If I'm correct, I can't say that I understand why he did it, but I do think that he murdered both Ben and the girl while on vacation. And the dog. And the cat.

(spoiler show)


Overall, I really enjoyed Defending Jacob.

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review 2014-06-18 00:00
Defending Jacob
Defending Jacob - William Landay I had never heard of this author when I got the book to read. I am always ready to try someone new in the hopes of discovering a new author. I was absolutely mesmerized by this book. Yes the story is a bit dark but that is intentional.

I enjoyed the format of the book where actual transcripts are woven into the story. The author utilized his experience as an ADA to craft the legal aspects of this story - and does it well.

I was completely engrossed in the characters and their interaction. This is very important since the ending would be difficult to truly grasp without being thoroughly involved in this story. I gave the book to my wife and she had the same opinion. We are now reading other books by him.

Mr. Landay is another example of a person who has successfully left a solid career behind to become an author. I look forward to his future offerings and recommend this book to everyone.
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review 2014-05-24 08:54
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Defending Jacob - William Landay I don't read a lot of legal thrillers, but the one I did decide to read this time didn't disappoint. Defending Jacob is a page-turner with an ending I did not see coming. Lots of discussion points on psychology, parenting, and trust. The narrator's voice and excerpts of a grand jury proceeding set a year after the crime are powerful tools used by the author to lead and mislead the reader. I had a great time being misled, though.
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review 2014-03-16 03:22
A Page Turner
Defending Jacob - William Landay

This was one of the best books I have read in a long time.  It is a definite page turner.  There are more twist and turns in this book than there are in a long winding road.  William Landay knows how to tell a story and keep you on the edge of your seat.  This is a definite must read.  Warning: Do not start this book if you do not have time to read it form cover to cover.  I stayed up late at night because I could not put it down.  Consequently, I was groggy at work for about two days.  But, that is the price i would pay for a good read.

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