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Defending Jacob [Paperback]

William Landay
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2012
When a teenaged boy is discovered stabbed to death in the woods adjoining the local high school, a wave of shock ripples through the suburban community of Newton, outside of Boston. Assistant district attorney Andy Barber is used to dealing with murder and its after-efffects, but with his own son, Jacob, also a student at the school, he too is anxious for a swift arrest and conviction. But as the kids appear to be stonewalling the cops and the investigation stalls, evidence emerges that ties Jacob to the crime - and suddenly Andy faces a very different challenge: preventing his son from being convicted of murder. Together with his wife, Laurie, the family closes ranks in the midst of an increasingly hostile community as Andy prepares for the trial of his life, the one trial he cannot afford to lose. Especially when the emergence of his own dark family secrets threatens to undermine Jacob's defence. And as the drama reaches its climax, Andy and Laurie have to face every parent's toughest questions: how well do you really know your own child, and how far would you go to save them?

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Advance praise for "Defending Jacob" "William Landay makes bold use of his genuine storytelling gift, his amazing ability to craft believable dialogue, and, above all, his extraordinary understanding of what it means to be a husband and father to present us with an unforgettable tale of an ordinary marriage and family in crisis. On the surface this novel reads like a first-rate thriller, but at its heart it's a love story. It's the story of a man who adores his wife and child, but more than that, it's a novel that describes the fine edge between love and madness, and the lies we sometimes tell ourselves. Landay has proven himself to be an extraordinary writer, and "Defending Jacob" is an amazing novel. Do yourself a favor and read it. It's that good."--Nicholas Sparks ""Defending Jacob" is smart, sophisticated, and suspenseful--capturing both the complexity and stunning fragility of family life."--Lee Child "Powerful . . . leaves you gasping breathlessly at e

About the Author

William Landay was an assistant district attorney before he turned to writing. He lives in Boston.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read Feb. 11 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good story, and not at all predictable.....keeps you guessing until the very end....and even then your surprised. Masterful writing, amazing characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Real page turner May 14 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great read. Hated to put it down right to the last page. Can't wait to read his next thriller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars being a parent is tough love March 2 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Intelligent, heart-stopping, powerful, engaging.

So is your son a murderer or just a bit different?

The world has condemned him already.

What do you do? Nature or nurture - what shapes our ends?

This book takes you through the travels and travails of a scared family. If you love legal stories, enjoy detecting, beg for stories that are basically enthrall ing conversations, then this is THE book for you. Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Touching Feb. 4 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This story is plain brilliant, with deep and moving characters, lofty ideas and an insight that gets my full respect.The descriptions are vivid, the setting wide and varied, and William Landlay has a good sense of things and knowledge. The connections made between Jacob and Andy Barber, his father, are well observed. The twists and interconnections in the story also reminds me of Triple Agent Double Cross.The story gripped me all the way to the end, made explosive by the final twist in the story.
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2.0 out of 5 stars At a Loss Jan. 9 2014
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
It is one of those times where I am completely shocked by a novel's reviews and success. This book was a contrived and reductive mess. The pacing and structure were plotted like a made-for-tv-movie. It aspires to be a suspenseful outing combining the styles of Turow and Picoult but falls far short. To be fair, I did enjoy a few nuggets including Landay's commentary on teenagers and parenting including these bon mots:

“The interior of a teenager’s mind is an endless war between Stupid and Clever.”

“At some point as adults we cease to be our parents' children and we become our children's parents instead.”

"I don't have a parenting style. I'm just making it up as I go."

He also makes a few good runs at commercialism including a solid jab at the "elaborate pretense" that is Whole Foods pretending it "was something other than a luxury store." Landay obviously loves storytelling as he injects references to it and building narratives throughout the book, “We are pattern-seeking, storytelling animals, and have been since we began drawing on cave walls.”

It is just a shame that this is not a well-told tale. The family at the story's centre is never fleshed out and they do not endear or prompt any connection. Jacob could have been an incredible character. Instead he was impenetrable, conveniently masked behind a blanket diagnosis of narcissism. The wife was little more than a caricature and the father qualified for stupid villain-status.

Unlike the wildly popular but equally improbable, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, this thriller never gelled or compelled. It was frustrating right up to and including the abrupt ending which I am not sure was a literary device or an expression of the author’s own disappointment with the story. I remain bewildered at the praise it has received.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One family's tragedy Oct. 3 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While reading this book I kept thinking of so many families who experience a tragedy exactly like this How many times have I read about a son like this in the same situaton and the words : He was such a nice and quied child. This is a book difficult to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read June 11 2013
By Burchy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I started this thinking I would read a few chapters a day and then found myself barreling through it. It's the type of book which sneaks up on you. It is not for faint of heart, though.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing June 8 2013
By Joan
Format:Kindle Edition
A quick read. Engaging and well written. Very disturbing to explore what makes us into the adults we become. Nature vs nurture on steroids.
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