Book Review: Defending Jacob by William Landay

Title: Defending Jacob       
Series: Standalone
Author: William Landay      
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Published: 01/31/2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Contemporary Mystery, Legal Thriller, Crime Fiction


Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

MY THOUGHTS (Short and Sweet)

Defending Jacob is a well-written, compelling, and unpredictable thriller with a highly distressing conclusion. Pretty tough to take for a reader who lives for happily-ever-after endings, but I have no regrets. This book was bloody brilliant! 

A small thing, but greatly appreciated, was the name pronunciation help the author provided. I certainly wish more writers thought to aid their readers this way.


“You're staring.'
'You're my wife. I'm allowed to stare.'
'Is that the rule?'
'Yes. Stare, leer, ogle, anything I want. Trust me. I'm a lawyer.” 
― William Landay, Defending Jacob


“Every father knows the disconcerting when you see your child as a weird, distorted double of yourself. It is as if for a moment your identities overlap. You see an idea, a conception of your boyish inner self...made real and flesh. He is you restarted, rewound; at the same time he is as foreign and unknowable as any other person.” 
― William Landay, Defending Jacob


“The rest-the vast majority, tens of thousands of days-are unremarkable, repetitive, even monotonous. We glide through them then instantly forget them. We tend not to think about this arithmetic when we look back on our lives. We remember the handful of Big Days and throw away the rest. We organize our long, shapeless lives into tidy little stories...But our lives are mostly made up of junk, of ordinary, forgettable days, and 'The End' is never the end.” 
― William Landay, Defending Jacob