We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Defending Jacob: A Novel | [William Landay]

Defending Jacob: A Novel

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 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 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.
Regular Price:$23.07
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 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 14-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, and 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.

©2012 William Landay (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“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, #1 New York Times best-selling author)

“Harrowing . . . This searing narrative proves the ancient Greek tragedians were right: the worst punishment is not death but living with what you—knowingly or unknowingly—have done.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“[Landay] reaches a new level of excellence with this riveting, knock-your-socks-off legal thriller. With its masterfully crafted characterizations and dialogue, emotional depth, and frightening implications, the novel rivals the best of Scott Turow and John Grisham. Don’t miss it.” (Booklist, starred review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (4363 )
5 star
 (1576)
4 star
 (1813)
3 star
 (715)
2 star
 (170)
1 star
 (89)
Overall
4.1 (3735 )
5 star
 (1469)
4 star
 (1409)
3 star
 (622)
2 star
 (159)
1 star
 (76)
Story
4.2 (3736 )
5 star
 (1616)
4 star
 (1478)
3 star
 (481)
2 star
 (109)
1 star
 (52)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    andrea Annandale, NJ, United States 02-08-12
    andrea Annandale, NJ, United States 02-08-12 Member Since 2010

    I love the outdoors and the warm weather!! And I never leave home with out my I-Nano. It should be surgically placed into my ear. I live and breath for books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    128
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    127
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    45
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Good Book!!"

    This book makes you think about yourself and your children. The writer wrote this
    with a lot of thought about family. And how we as parents may be blind to our
    children's behavior. Also about the court system, how your guilty before your proven innocent. The only con was the narrator voice was the same for certain character's. Besides that it was a good book. I enjoyed it!!

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 01-07-13
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    822
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    323
    248
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    116
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "As Good A Legal Thriller As Ever Written!"

    First off, I became a Grover Gardener fan from his readings of the wonderful David Rosenfelt/Andy Carpenter series... He is as feeling-perfect as ever here....

    But this book is astonishing. William Landay has plotted and peopled a rare perfect novel. There is not a forced idea.The writer and the reader disappear, leaving only you and Andy Barber's challenge in Defending Jacob. I recommend it without reservation. He shows us distress through the mind of senior Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber - a mind powerfully affected by his fatherly love. It is a tale that thickens like quicksand, sucking you deeper with each swirl and tug... This is a life view that will haunt me... and you.

    Let's make it simple... buy it... download it... experience it... recommend it.

    I'm off to find another of William Landay's work.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 02-11-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 02-11-12 Member Since 2006

    65 y/o father of two sons. Married 25 yrs. Audible member for 8 yrs. I can hardly read books with my eyes any more. I love reviewing.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2108
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    452
    178
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    944
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant first novel. Very suspenseful."

    Mr. Landay's book is outrageously good. There are lots of ex-lawyers out there who think they can write; they should read "Defending Jacob" so they can see what a great book is. The plot twists and turns in ways that entertain and inform you. The main characters are extremely well drawn. The villain LoGuidice is horrible: nasty, vicious, ambitious, duplicitous. The Barber family is extremely complicated: Andy, Jacob and Laurie are all believable humans. The courtroom scenes are a little drawn out, which is often the case with courtroom scenes. You can forgive this, as these guys spent their careers in courtrooms. The device of interspersing Andy's grand jury testimony, something which clearly occurs at the end of the book, but with which Landay teases you throughout, is one of a kind. I have never seen it used before, and if anyone else ever copies it, Mr. Landay should appreciate the fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery.
    Grover Gardner is a perfect reader for this book. His voice is friendly and full of humor, even when the text is serious. His reading of the David Rosenfelt lawyer/dog series is so delightful that you want to read every book in it. Gardner doesn't have as many voices as some of the other more technically proficient narrators, but that hasn't stopped audiobook publishers from recognizing his talent. He is warm, knowledgeable and naturally engaging. You will never guess how the book ends, no matter how clever you are. Landay's insights into the world of eighth graders and their parents is true in every detail. I cannot recommend this book more highly; this is the debut of a marvelous talent.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-08-14
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-08-14 Member Since 2007

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1608
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    348
    151
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    652
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Astounding for a first book."

    I hesitated for months to listen to this because I had preconceived notions about the storyline. I thought it would be a formulaic family drama, syrupy or maudlin - the kiss of death for any book in my estimation. My mistake. It is nothing like that.

    This is a brilliantly written, suspenseful novel made all the more impressive by the fact that it's Landay's first book. He makes none of the mistakes with clumsy dialogue that can sometimes plague new writers. He can jump around on the timeline and never lose you. Really, it's masterfully executed and incredibly suspenseful.

    All along the way I was sure I'd figured it out. I thought about it when I wasn't listening and came up with all kinds of "Aha!" moments. I was wrong every time. I just love it when a book can do that to me. Not one of my plotted scenarios was ever right.

    Grover Gardner has a way of narrating that makes you think every single thing he says is the gospel. There's a unique timbre to his voice that's easy to listen to, captivating and very convincing. Though he's not the most dramatic of narrators, he's really perfect for a book like this when the character just needs to tell his story.

    Without a doubt, this book is firmly in the company of other 1st rate legal dramas by Grisham and Turrow. Excellent.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 04-21-13
    Susan Bartonville, TX 04-21-13 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

    HELPFUL VOTES
    596
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    289
    277
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    117
    70
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mother of two teen boys"
    Any additional comments?

    Wow, a thought stopper. It is well written and the narrator melted into the book and makes you forget he was there. This is one of those books that makes you pause.... I had an inkling of what was coming because of the way Landay was writing the courtroom scene(s). Brilliant. I have not read one done like that before. He had me leaning in and paying closer attention to those. As a Mom I know what it is to feel complete and utter responsibility for the lives our babes. The story was told by the father and his frustration level was so evident that I felt myself feeling sorry for this prudent and intelligent thinker. This is a good book that has a fast and ever changing plot.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen United States 03-27-13
    karen United States 03-27-13 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1100
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    183
    155
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    226
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "BRAVO!!!! Outstanding!"

    I bought three 'unknown' books at the same time -- books written by authors new to me, writers and books I'd never heard of before or seen, outside of Audible. I listened to the first two, which were only so-so, and I was just about to remind myself to stick to known quantities from now on. All that said, I wasn't expecting much when I started 'Defending Jacob'. But WOW -- this one made up for what the other two lacked.

    It's hard to say much about this book without giving too much away -- I can say that as I was listening, I felt myself getting furious with first the father, then the mother, for the way they saw, and treated, their son. The father was of the "my son can do no wrong" school of thought, which seemed totally ridiculous under the circumstances. The mother allowed herself to be drawn in by some nutty theory of genetic inclination to murder, which -- as described in this situation -- was just as bizarre. But that's the mark of a good book -- I couldn't stop listening. I was so involved with the characters -- we don't actually hear much from Jacob himself -- that I couldn't wait to see what would happen next.

    Nor will I betray anything else about the plot suffice it to say I listened to the ending, couldn't quite believe what I'd heard, so went back and listened to the last hour again. LOL -- great fun! What a book! Way beyond excellent plot, perfect narration, and all in all, one of the best of the year. Don't miss this one.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 12-17-12
    Chris Reich Northern, CA 12-17-12 Member Since 2005

    Business Physicist and Astronomer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    744
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    304
    138
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    145
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superb!"
    Would you listen to Defending Jacob again? Why?

    Oh yes. The story is riveting and nuanced. There are lots of twists and we have a bit of an unreliable narrator. Brilliant.


    What other book might you compare Defending Jacob to and why?

    Crime and Punishment---While Crime and Punishment is better, of course, this book is loaded with tension.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Couldn't say. Great book start to finish.


    If you could rename Defending Jacob, what would you call it?

    Stupid question.


    Any additional comments?

    The reader, Grover Gardner is superb---he could be reading his own story. Perfect read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 08-28-12
    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    334
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    63
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Life After the Trial of Your Child--Ugh!"

    If you've ever wondered about the family life of a person accused of murder, this book seems to offer some insights and I could not stop listening. However, the "explanations" seemed a bit contrived. I would have liked to hear more about the aftermath and more about the early life of the child. While the author hints of signs, the parents seem to have been oblivious and that is the part that most interested me. I would have loved this book if the wife's perspective could have been more developed. Even with these complaints, the book is one that I cannot get out of my mind. In fact, I think my next book might have to be a romance novel (just kidding)!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 04-13-12
    Jimmy Powell, OH, United States 04-13-12 Member Since 2010

    I am a young-executive with a voracious appetite for great stories. I read and listen constantly, and am very proud of my book collection.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    123
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Parents Worst Nightmare Told in a Believable Voice"

    I really hate books that over-exxagerate the emotion associated with a particular theme. I think writers unable to impart the fear associated with real life events, such as your son being charged in the murder of a fellow student, have to gravitate to hyperbole and excess. Fortunately, this book refrains from excess, which I find to be the best thing about Landay's story. He is able to illuminate for the reader the fear and aftermath associated with justice in the age of a hyper-media! However, it became tedious and redundant. Jacob was not that interesting as a character. I hate to rate this book so low as I feel like it had all the makings of a wonderful thriller, yet it fell short as many opportunities to shine the light of truth were missed. I would recommend this book if you don't want to think too much and want a real easy listen--it will not be a waste of time. Just don't expect to be blown away.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Coppell, TX, United States 02-14-12
    Bill Coppell, TX, United States 02-14-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well written and very good narrator."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Defending Jacob to be better than the print version?

    I did not read the print version.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator helps me visualize the story better than if I were readin the book.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 421 results PREVIOUS12343NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.