Defending Jacob by William Landay

Andy Barber has become known as someone not to go up against court rooms of Massachusetts, New England. He is well respected in his community and has been a pillar for about twenty some years.  Andy’s home is a happy one where he lives with his lovely wife Laurie and their 14 year old son Jacob.  If Andy were to be asked what he wished for, he would say all his wishes had come true already.

When a classmate of Jacob’s is killed, Andy is one of the first ones to investigate this unthinkable crime.  When talking with other students he is lead to start watching social networking sites and what he finds there is disturbing, the trail is leading to his son Jacob.  When Jacob becomes a suspect, Andy is removed from the case and even accused of interfering with the clues.  When Jacob is charged with the murder, Andy and Laura are tossed into a new world of accusations every where they turn. 

As Andy and Laura work at defending their son more and more information comes out including a past pattern of Jacob being cruel to animals as well as some unmentionable activity on a website Andy had never even heard of.  Yet Jacob swears he is innocent and Andy believes him, now with his hands tied, all he can do is sit back and watch the trail play out, hoping that the real killer is found.


Why did I want to read this book?  From the moment I heard about this one on line I was interested.  Court cases have always kind of sucked me in (years ago it was John Grisham, more recently Jodi Piccoult…).  A story about a young boy accused of murdering a classmate was something I wanted to know more about.

Defending Jacob was a phenomenal listen.   Grover Gardner did an excellent job of Narrating, distinguishing clearly between the many male voices in this tale of crime and accusation. 

Imagine if your child was accused of a murder.  Yes, your child who you tuck in at night, watch him play sports, pull in decent grades, and has a nice network of friends.  He is not a loaner.  He is not a dark distant child.  He is a typical teenage boy…. you can not fathom this accusation. 

That is the feeling that grabbed me as I listened to this novel.  I imagined as a parent what that would feel like and how you would hold it together.  As you listen you will see two parents trying to hold it together as their world around them falls apart.  Really, a story line that reads true, like anything you could read in the paper. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Defending Jacob and I am so glad I finally made time to experience it.  As I listened I could not decide it…. did Jacob do it?  Is he innocent?  If not Jacob, then who?

There’s only one way for you to find out…


30 thoughts on “Defending Jacob by William Landay

  1. My daughter Kritters Ramblings read this book and told me I had to read it. It is on my shelf. It is good to hear your take on it. I think I’ll move it up the to-read list.

  2. After reading your review Sheila I am definitely going to read it. I have read nothing but rave reviews on this book but somehow overlooked it. Thanks!

  3. This one is on my list. I can imagine nothing more frustrating and horrendous than trying to prove your child’s innocence. Imagine the horror for someone used to defending people, who now can do nothing. What a helpless feeling!

  4. I read this book a few months ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it too. I gave it five stars on,, and

    But it’s hard to describe the book without spoiling the story. I think it’s so much better to discover things as you read rather than hear about them in a review. The story should unfold just as the author writes it.

  5. Now that I’m back listening to audiobooks I keep an eye out for book reviews that particularly rave about the audio version. I’ll see if I can get this one.

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