Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Defending Jacob” as Want to Read:
Defending Jacob
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Defending Jacob

by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  137,411 ratings  ·  14,764 reviews
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, myster
...more
ebook, 421 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Delacorte Press (first published 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Defending Jacob, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Judy
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Danielle Francis
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsThe Help by Kathryn StockettDivergent by Veronica Roth
2012: What women born in the '80's have read so far
104th out of 1,017 books — 141 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCity of Bones by Cassandra ClareThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Meat Market by James Chalk
Best Gripping Books
403rd out of 423 books — 396 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Lisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason
I’ve always had a weakness for these mystery/crime thrillers—you know, the dragon tattoos and angels & demons of the world? I suppose I should be a little embarrassed by this but I’m not. They are my peanut butter and fluff.

Defending Jacob is some of the best fluff I’ve ever tasted. It is written by a former assistant district attorney from Massachusetts with a real knack for this type of storytelling—Jacob is perfectly paced with a tugging suspense that doesn’t abate until the final sentenc
...more
switterbug (Betsey)
This is as much a nuanced family drama, love story, and social inquisition as it is a murder/courtroom/legal thriller. If you can get past a few contrived plot points (this is where readers will divide), and engage with the narrator, whose reliability or unreliability is a puzzle to piece together, you will be satisfied with this warm yet dark story of a community and family unhinged by a violent crime. The author is a former DA who is skilled at informing the reader about the law and procedure ...more
Jill
It has been YEARS since a book has had a twist that I didn't see coming. Well played William Landay, I would never have imagined the ending of this book. I will definitely have a "book hangover" from this one. I can't start a new book because I can't get this one out of my head!
Trudi

I'm trying to put my finger on what makes Defending Jacob such a compulsive read. Landay clearly has a killer storytelling instinct. The pacing of this novel is near perfect. He drops just enough clues, teases with just enough foreshadowing to keep the reader completely engrossed at all times. I started listening to this as an audiobook and finished it in print, not being able to turn the pages fast enough.

Defending Jacob is not a unique plot by any stretch. In fact, when I first heard about th
...more
Sandra
I'm annoyed. As I said in one of my updates, this is an odd book, a psychological thriller with little understanding of psychology. It's written in the first person from the father's point of view. He was very annoying with his stubborn blocking of the truth from himself to his unemotional narration. If the author meant to convey a kind of underlying emotional tension, he failed miserably. The ending felt like a cheap shot, and I feel cheated.
Robert
I hated Jacob and would have preferred to rub his cocksure attitude into the sand, knock him over the head with a shovel, and then bury him with said object about six feet under. He’s more emotionless void than passionate Picasso, and he feels absolutely no responsibility for his actions. That’s your typical teenager, at least on the latter, but not having a heart is not exactly what I strive toward every day of my life. And yet I ended up completely immersed in legalese and legal suspense.

Willi
...more
La-Lionne
5 brilliant and heartbreaking stars :-(

This story isn't about proving Jacob is innocent or guilty. At least I didn't think so. For me this story was about fathers unconditional love for his son, no matter the outcome.
description

Andy Barber is a 51 year old DA. Has a wife who is a teacher and a 14 year old son, Jacob. Perfect little family. They are well known and respected in their community.
One day, he gets a call that a 14 year old boy has been found murdered in the park, not far from school, with 3 st
...more
JaHy♕ Bitchy  Goddess ♥'s  everything CrAzY  ☿
***5 " Unwavering " Stars**
Have you ever tried to write a review but no matter how hard you tried , you just couldn't articulate your thoughts properly ? I feel your pain.


I've written and deleted this review more times than I care to admit. Can you say scatter brain? I apologize in advance for this condensed rambling mess. . . . which will tell you nothing about the book itself, is the best I could come up with :-(
Thankfully, there are numerous fantastic reviews on GR. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEAS
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There's a stanza from a Wendell Berry poem called "The Way of Pain" that applies to both of the fathers in this story -- the one whose son was murdered, and the one whose son was accused of murder.

"And then I slept, and dreamed
the life of my only son
was required of me, and I
must bring him to the edge
of pain, not knowing why.
I woke, and yet that pain
was true. It brought his life
to the full in me. I bore him
suffering, with love like the sun,
too bright, unsparing, whole."


That fierce love, that int
...more
Sandie
William Landay's DEFENDING JACOB has received a lot of hype from its publishers and has been compared to Scott Turows "Presumed Innocent". Personally, this tale of the fourteen year old son of an Assistant D.A. accused of murdering a classmate put me more in mind of the William March book THE BAD SEED.

Several of Landay's characters lack flesh on their bones and the actions of some are downright unbelievable. The Jacob character must be based upon the Sphinx (he is that inscrutable) or perhaps he
...more
Matt
Some time ago, I was standing in CVS Pharmacy getting a prescription for my daughter’s 10,000th earache (10,000 being a rough approximation). While I waited for the amoxicillin to be filled, I wandered over to the magazine rack to do some browsing. I instantly noticed something. The magazine/book rack sure has changed since I worked in a pharmacy in high school. Most of the magazines had motorcycles or abdomens on them. Most of the books had abdomens and corsets. There was very little to interes ...more
Gary  the Bookworm
Normally, when a book screams at me, I'm going to be a movie, someday! I let it go. In the case of Defending Jacob, I sullenly read on, primarily because it was this month's selection for my book club at the Adult Center (view spoiler).I would no sooner have shown up on Tuesday AM to face this band of retired teachers and librarians without having read the book, than I would have smoked pot before taking the SAT's. So on I read, becoming increasingly annoyed as implausible pl ...more
Aoibhínn
Set in a small town in Massachusetts, Defending Jacob tells the story of fourteen-year-old Jacob Barber, the son of a well-respected Assistant District Attorney, who is accused of murdering a boy in his year at school. Has Jacob been falsely accused or is he, in fact, guilty of murder?

Defending Jacob is a well-written, disturbing and gripping crime thriller with plenty of twists and turns throughout the novel to keep you interested. I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked from the very beginni
...more
Ali
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MobileMinx
Mar 18, 2012 MobileMinx rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Daring Enough to Delve Into Deep Interpersonal Dynamics
Forget what you believe about the ties that bind family and be prepared to wonder if those who populate your life are really who you think they are, and you will have the crux of William Landay's riveting novel Defending Jacob.

To say that this is a heart-wrenching story understates the high emotional toll that events take as they play out in the story of one family's drama. Jacob is the teenage son of Andy Barber, a local district attorney in the tony suburb of Newton, MA, who is charged with th
...more
Kim
I love a good mystery but I've been putting this one off because the idea of a legal/courtroom setting wasn't appealing to me at all. The title threw me off. I understood it as defending jacob in court, which applies - but this is MORE about defending the jacob who is your kid. This is the story of two very different 14 year old schoolmates. One ends up dead, the other ends up accused of killing the other. The parents' perspectives on both sides are closely examined.

Your kid. If you have one, i
...more
Jessica Woodbury
I hold books featuring cops and lawyers to a higher standard. First, because I AM a lawyer. And second, because if you're going to have that kind of protagonist, they need to be actually believable in that role. Otherwise find another way into your story. (And there are many. Note all the thrillers that feature retired or former cops, private investigators, random people who just decide to investigate, etc.)

So I was frustrated by this book several times because its protagonist (a career prosecut
...more
Maddy
PROTAGONIST: Andy Barber, assistant district attorney
SETTING: Massachusetts
RATING: 4.75

Assistant Defense Attorney Andy Barber, his wife Laurie and their son Jacob are very much a normal family until one of Jacob’s classmates, 14-year-old Ben Rifkin, is murdered. Andy takes on the case until the time that evidence is found that shows his son may have been involved. At that point, the world as the Barbers know it comes undone. Ultimately, there is more substantial proof implicating Jacob, and he i
...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
This review can now be seen at Shelf Inflicted!
Zoeytron
This legal thriller was more taut and riveting than any I have read in years. Arriving late to the party in reading this book, I am fortunate to have remained unaware of the ending, which was killer! The scene played out in the supermarket checkout line was sheer perfection - "quivering with hatred like a tuning fork". I could almost feel it, I swear. Excellent work, I recommend it without reservation.
Angel Gelique
A parent's primary responsibility is to protect their children. They provide food and shelter and wake in the middle of the night to keep them safe from those imaginary monsters lurking under the bed. But what happens when the child, himself, may be the monster?

Boy monster photo: Monster tumblr_mfzydzAGf81rk4i0vo1_500_zps634ea28d.gif

Assistant District Attorney, Andrew Barber, was living the American dream in his fancy house within an affluent neighborhood, along with his beautiful wife and teen-aged son. Then the body of a young teenager is found within a nearby par
...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Whew! What a book. Not having read most of the thrillers and courtroom dramas that have been best sellers for the last 20 years or so I am perhaps more susceptable than many readers to the suspense of this thrilling courtroom drama. I picked it up thinking it was an Oprah sort of book - son accused of murder, parents argue, younger sibling starts acting out, family disintegrates under the strain of defending their son.

Turns out it's rather more sophisticated than that. First of all the book is n
...more
Kirsten
I don’t read many legal thrillers but I picked up this one because of good reviews promising appeal to a wider audience. It’s also a psychological story about a family and a marriage, describing what happens to a husband and wife when their teenaged son is accused of murdering a classmate. However I thought it was too long and repetitive in the middle section, and weak because limited to the father Andy’s point of view. Most of the suspense in the book is created because Andy is narrating from a ...more
Shannon
*** Spoiler Alert***
Ok, there are the obvious that the book brings out... Murder gene, did Jacob do it, bulling, etc. I couldn't get past all the little stuff... Why did he go back so far in time? 1997. First of all Facebook wasn't all that wildly popular & everyone was on MySpace back then. Also the part where Jacob was using his iPod touch to visit those websites when the iPod touch wasn't even released until 09/2007. A;so the Jacobs BFF playing Wii when it was just released and everyone s
...more
M
A word about the rating before I begin my review. Generally four stars means a book contained the things I love most in fiction - characterization, beautiful language, provocative themes. This book lacked 2/3 of that, and the last third - themes - weren't as developed as I might have liked. However, for what this book set out to do, it actually deserves five, because it was meant to be suspenseful and thought provoking and a good read, and it was all of those things. My goodreads integrity compe ...more
Kristen Doyle
As shared in my blog post... http://dineanddish.net/2012/07/connec...

I’ll start off by telling you I’m giving this book 5 stars, which is something I didn’t think I’d do for a legal thriller. Defending Jacob is about a family struggling to hold things together when their teenage son is accused and charged with murder. The question at the core of this novel is… “How far would you go to protect your child?” It’s a heart wrenching, edge of your seat, can’t put down kind of book with twists and turn
...more
Eleon397
Not a perfect book. But a compelling read. Be warned - you won't like any of the characters in this book, there is no good guy, but you won't be able to put it down. It is obvious from the first that the ending won't be happy, but you won't know until the very last page just how unhappy it is.
Connie
4/22/14 Reread for a book club discussion.

6/28/12 Andy Barber, an assistant district attorney in an affluent community outside Boston, is in charge of a case involving the murder of a boy in his son's class. He is shocked to find out that a fingerprint on the victim's clothing matches with his son, Jacob. Jacob declares his innocence, and his father sets out to defend him with the help of a good defense attorney. Andy also reveals to his wife, Laurie, the secret that he comes from a family of vi
...more
Carol
Great book with surprise ending!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Was Jacob guilty? 71 1418 Apr 23, 2015 08:37PM  
Let's cast the stars of "Defending Jacob!" 77 875 Apr 06, 2015 06:52AM  
ending 64 522 Mar 31, 2015 03:00PM  
Books on Tap: Books for February 2! 4 14 Feb 03, 2015 03:36PM  
  • One Breath Away
  • Home Front
  • The Good Father
  • The Last Child
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
  • An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny
  • Touch & Go (Tessa Leoni, #2)
  • A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty
  • The Prophet
  • Trust Your Eyes
  • Once We Were Brothers
  • Love Anthony
  • The Promise of Stardust
  • The World We Found
  • Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3)
  • Reconstructing Amelia
  • Spilled Blood
  • The Husband's Secret
218843
William Landay is the author of the New York Times bestseller Defending Jacob. Previous novels include Mission Flats, winner of the Dagger Award for best debut crime novel, and The Strangler, which was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of the year.
More about William Landay...
Mission Flats The Strangler

Share This Book

“At some point as adults we cease to be our parents' children and we become our children's parents instead.” 53 likes
“The interior of a teenager’s mind is an endless war between Stupid and Clever.” 42 likes
More quotes…