Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review - Defending Jacob by William Landy

Book Summary from Amazon

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?

Published - January 2012

My Review - 3 

I am disappointed I went with the hype, ugggh.  This was on many bloggers Top Ten Lists when it came out and I have had it on my Wishlist for 2 years.  I finally downloaded, thankfully on special.  I do not enjoy thrillers that manipulate the reader, it is a pet peeve of mine.

First, I considered putting it down the first 30% of the book, I just couldn't get engaged, the characters did nothing for me and it was in Boston which I love but nothing about Boston, it could have been anywhere and I couldn't figure out where it was leading the reader.  Bloggers recommended to read on, well it did improve in Part 2, finally which is why I will bump up to 3 1/2 stars, it was sitting at 2 for a long time.

Jacob has been charged with murder and we follow his court journey with his parents Andy and Laurie.  Andy was the DA but put on administrative leave throughout the case.  I found Andy's actions throughout to be ludicrous and illegal, he felt he was in control but he was completely out of control with inappropriate actions.  I never understood Laurie, I don't think her character was developed or in line with what the author wanted us to believe.  The Psychiatrist feedback was interesting but went no where, the idea of the 'murder gene' could have been interesting as part of the case.  The grandfather was intriguing but played a small part in relation to the family history. Did Jacob inherit a tendency to violence?

Overall this book was far to long.  It was repetitive in areas and left to many questions for the reader. If there is detail the reader expects answers or the question is why go into that amount of detail. As a parent I understand believing in your child, supporting and doing all that you can but not once did they ask Jacob did you do it, completely bogus or did they choose to have their head in the sand.  It could have been slightly edgy waiting for the jury's decision since we talked about inaccuracies of the law etc but then the novel goes in a different direction, it felt like a sell out to me at the end.

I thought the ending was just ok, not a shocker to me, I can see many loving or hating it actually.  I may just have been happier that I completed the novel and it was over.  I wish I had decided to give up on it actually, not one I would recommend to fans of Thrillers.


"the act does not create guilt unless the mind is also guilty."  Kindle 30%

We swear that we can take any abuse, beat any challenge.  No test is too great.  Anything for our kids.  But no one is bulletproof, parents least of all.  Our kids make us vulnerable.  Kindle 65%


  1. Yeah, I thought the twist at the end was a bit of a let down after all the hype, so I know exactly what you mean.

  2. It made for very lively discussion talking about what the father did, and Laurie's behavior. It wasn't the greatest, but not the worst I've read :)


  3. I was almost going to read this.

    Thanks for stopping by and the encouragement. I really needed that today.

  4. So glad to read your review. I have this already, but I've been hesitating reading it. I read the first chapter or two a couple months ago, but put it down to read something else instead. I may try again at some point, but now I won't have such a high expectation if I ever do get around to reading it. :-)

  5. After reading your review, I think I'm glad I haven't picked this up yet. I had planned to read it with my book group but now I'm not so sure. Of course it can be fun to pick apart a flawed novel...

  6. This has been on my wishlist since it came out too. Thanks for the warning. I'll probably give it a go at some point, but am not in a hurry to do so now.


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