K's Reviews > Defending Jacob

Defending Jacob by William Landay
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F_50x66
's review
Mar 27, 12

bookshelves: audiobooks, mysteriesthrillers, intense-sad-dark-or-bleak
Read from March 19 to 27, 2012

Audiobooks don't usually get five stars from me. Audio is not my preferred modality, and generally the books I listen to fall into one of two rough categories: 3-4 stars, meaning listening to this book beat folding laundry in silence, or 1-2 stars, meaning folding laundry in silence was equally compelling. When I found myself putting this book on as I brushed my teeth, I knew I had a winner.

This book was basically We Need to Talk About Kevin meets Presumed Innocent. It's the story of Andy, a D.A., who learns that his 14-year-old son Jacob has been accused of murdering his classmate. Did he do it? Andy is convinced he didn't. Lori, Jacob's mother, is not so sure. As the reader, I can honestly say I went back and forth, even by the time I reached the book's startling end.

I felt this book was more than just a fast-paced did-he-or-didn't-he thriller, although it definitely succeeded in that regard. The book touched on family dynamics. It explored heredity vs. environment in a fascinating new way. It flirted with the question of whether discovering that someone has sociopathic tendencies is the same thing as conclusive guilt. And what constitutes proof vs. circumstantial evidence. Not to mention a narrator's reliability or lack thereof. I could go on.

I don't know whether it's a literary book per se, but it certainly kept me reading (listening) and thinking which is enough for me. Hats off to William Landay (and to Grover Gardner, the gifted reader) for a rare audiobook experience.
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Reading Progress

03/23/2012 "Super gripping. Like a cross between "Presumed Innocent" and "We Need to Talk about Kevin."" 4 comments

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Denise (new)

Denise DeSio I love audiobooks! I'm trying to listen to Night Circus now but folding laundry is turning out to be a tad more riveting.


message 2: by K (new) - rated it 5 stars

K Sorry to hear that. I suspect "Night Circus" may have worked better in print. I found myself loving the elaborate descriptions but would probably have been annoyed with the level of detail on audio. It's interesting how some books just work better on audio than others.


Jane I'm thinking about reading this since you gave it 5 stars and it averaged 4 stars. I like a good action/suspense/thriller but I usually don't like mysteries. I'm one of the few people I know that didn't like "The Girl With the Dragon Tatto", but I did like "We need to talk about Kevin". Do you think this one will be too much mystery for me??


message 4: by K (new) - rated it 5 stars

K These things are subjective, but I would guess that it wouldn't be too much mystery for you. I think it was more like "Kevin" than like "Dragon Tattoo." It wasn't about finding clues and putting them together; it was more about the possibility of someone's son being a killer and not wanting to believe it, unreliable narrator, stuff like that. If you read it, I look forward to hearing what you think!


Jane Thank you Khaya! That was helpful. I'll definitely plan to read it. I requested it at the library so I will look forward to reading it when it becomes available.


message 6: by K (new) - rated it 5 stars

K I hope you like it as much as I did, Jane! Either way, I look forward to hearing what you think.


Angela Khaya after reading your Gone Girl review, you got me interested in this review, now you got me, I have to read this book. Thanks


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