Skip to main content

Book Review: Defending Jacob

Author: William Landay
Published: 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 421
My Rating: 5

Summary from
     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.

        Never have I read a crime thriller that was more captivating and twisted than this one. 

        The story begins and we are aware that the narrator, Andy Barber, is in some sort of trial testimony; for what, we don't know. He is being questioned by a former colleague and protege who is seemingly at the end of his rope about the case. The content of the trial continues to pop in and out of the story as the narrator begins explaining things to us about how everything got turned upside down in his quiet town. 

        Set in a suburb in Massachusetts, Andy has been the Assistant District Attorney for most of his career. He is very respected in this highly affluent community where all of the kids go on to Ivy League colleges after having an idyllic childhood with their perfect families. Violence and crime are basically a nonissue until a fourteen-year-old boy is murdered in a nearby park. Andy instantly requests the case as he has been a rock in the town for years and he himself has a fourteen-year-old boy that he wants to protect. 

        Andy starts about the case as he normally would, trying to hear what happened and getting as much evidence as he can. While he is trying to find suspects and talk with students at the school, he is also trying to support his wife and her friends who are terrified about the fact that a murderer is on the loose. Next thing Andy knows, the police are at his door and his own son, Jacob, is being accused of the murder. Andy's peaceful world is gone as he knows it and he dedicates his life, or what is left of it, to defending his son and sticking up for him, while at the same time trying to convince his former colleagues that he was innocent of tampering with the evidence. He continues to show his unconditional love for Jacob, whether he is guilty or innocent. 

        William Landay does an excellent job of examining guilt, innocence, betrayal, and capability. This book is a murder mystery at its heart but it also addresses so many issues that families experience when they deal with violence and traumatic situations. He goes through the book and seamlessly portrays the changes the family goes through as the trial progresses and really shows how things alter both at home as well as in the community, regardless of whether Jacob actually committed the murder or not. 

        The hardest part about reading Defending Jacob is the fact that Landay does such a great job giving us small clues and just enough foreshadowing to make us think we have it figured out, but yet at the same time changes things so much that we are constantly left guessing. There is a lot of evidence that points to Jacob's innocence, but then other things pop up that suggest he did it. You truly have no idea what way things are going to go until you get to the very end. Be prepared for some MAJOR plot twists that will make your jaw drop open and will shock you. So much happened in this book that I didn't see coming, and I feel like that's a hard thing to do. 

        Overall, Defending Jacob is a shocking crime thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end. You will be blown away by the twists in this one, and will have a book hangover for days. If you are looking for a good mystery that has realistic elements of family, emotions, and crime, you will want to check this one out. William Landay wrote a gripping thriller that has left me thinking about it for days, and I don't think I'll be letting go of this one any time soon. 

-Busy Brunette 


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: Before We Were Yours

My Rating: 5
It has been about a month since I finished this book and it honestly took me that long to recover enough in order to write a review.
Before We Were Yours is one of the best books I have ever read, and if you know me at all, you would realize I don’t toss that statement around lightly. By saying that, however, in no way am I saying that this is a happy read, because it is also one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful books I have ever read in my life, as well.
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals (although the main characters are fictional), the story is that of Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, who would kidnap poor children and then sell them to wealthy families all over the country from the 1920s through the 1950s.
Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four siblings are the victims of this type of crime, and half of the book is their journey and fight to get back home. The other half is that of present-day Avery, a prose…

Book Review: Pretty Girls

My Rating: 4
Have you ever read a book that was so dark and twisted that you literally felt like you lost a piece of your innocence after finishing it? Yeah, that’s what I felt as I was reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.
Needless to say, this book threw me for quite the loop. I was expecting a story about missing girls (which I got), what I wasn’t expecting, however, was an extremely graphic tale of violence and gore full of shocking scenarios and senseless acts that would leave me slightly traumatized and lying awake at night thinking about (which is what I also got).
I’m not trying to be dramatic with this review, but honestly, this book will seriously mess you up. It is not at all for the faint of heart and it will exhaust you every time you finish a chapter. Still with me? Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Pretty Girls was a crazy psychological thriller that continued to throw plot twists and mysteries at me until I didn’t think I could handle it anymore, then it took a sharp left…

Book Review: The Good Widow

My Rating: 4
I finished this book in under two days. TWO DAYS. Given the fact that I have a toddler now, that's saying something.

The Good Widow is about Jacks, a woman who finds out that her husband has died in a tragic car accident when on his business trip to Kansas. Or so she thought. Turns out he died in Hawaii… with another woman.

Now Jacks is left with not only the devastating blow that her husband was lying to her about his whereabouts, but also the fact that he was having an affair, as well. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her life when the other woman’s fiancé arrives at her door, left with the same questions Jacks has about the mystery surrounding their deaths. Together, they will try to find out the truth about who their significant others really were.

The book had a lot of twists and turns I never saw coming. I liked how it switched perspectives and timelines of before/after the accident, as I felt this made the pace go a lot faster. The feelings the characters had…