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.
“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)
former nuclear scientist
First, the performance.
I didn't like it too much. The man sounds like he is performing in a movie in 1943 - you know how they spoke so quickly, the sentences tumbling over each other. He can't do women, but few of the narrators can effectively do the other gender. He can't really do other voices for men, either. Luckily for him, most of the book is narration, internal musings, or a transcript, so you know who's talking. Maybe that's why it sounds so much like a screenplay; you get scenes like:
LaJudas: blah blah incompetent blah
Witness: blah blah blah, so there!
(internal reflection on the situation)
The story itself is fairly riveting: a teen is murdered, and his classmate is charged with the crime. The narrator is the accused's father, so he is fairly biased - even internally. He is a DA, so this is sort of a hybrid crime mystery/courtroom drama. He tries to unravel the situation, learning little other than how out of touch most parents are with their children.
The structure of the story is classic, switching among courtroom scenes, reminisces, and sleuthing. It's easy to follow along, even when listening, as the narrator uncovers clues and then interprets them one way (being the father) as others occasionally intrude to interpret them differently, and the listener is left to make his or her own choice about who has the better argument. The mystery, did Jacob do it? is riveting, and the ending has a surprising twist.
If I liked courtroom and crime mystery novels more, I'd overlook the annoying narrator. But since it's not really my thing, I give it three stars even though I recognize that "Defending Jacob" is a pretty good example of the genre.
A gardener who loves to listen to audio while weeding
Yes, I multitask and may have missed something
Yes, good story line
Yes it did
Jacob, sad warped child
I would recommend this book. The story twists and turns constantly and makes you wonder about the devil you know and the one you don't.
Just when the Barber's were starting to relax on their much needed holiday in Mexico, Jacob's little girlfriend is suddenly missing. This is when you start to wonder ... "could there be something wrong...really wrong...with Jacob???
The audible productions keep getting better all the time. When a narrator reads with passion and emotion, it keeps you engaged so you can tune out the rest of the world for a while!
A retired college professor, enjoying having time to read/listen through my wish list.
Just when you think you know what's going to happen, it doesn't. This book is extremely well-written, holds your attention throughout, and describes human emotions so well that I had visceral reations to many scenes.
I was listening to this book as I was returning from a business trip, and when I arrived home, I drove around the neighborhood for an additional 20 minutes listening, because I just had to hear what was going to happen.
Maybe not because the ending was so climatic.
The love Jacob's father had for his wife and his insight into her personality and that the book always kept you guessing but never knowing what was really going on.
He made vivid and real the personality of the main character.
Maybe "How far would you go to protect your child?"
I really enjoyed the mix of a lovely love story and a mystery, right to the very end.
Yes! Keeps u on your toes
Not sure maybe sharp objects by Gylan Flynn
I found the familial relationships interesting. Even though you see evidence against your son a parent has to believe in this son. Makes you think, "what would I do in a similar situation". What happens between the parents and child, the husband and wife, and even between old friends and neighbors is heart wrenching. But then you think how would I feel if this was my son, my neighbor, my friend. Even if you win, you don't.
The relationship issues and how you don't see the ending coming.
I found his voice easy to listen to and I liked his interpretation of the various characters. I have even looked for other books that he has narrated because I appreciated his narration of this story so much.
Worth the credit. Kept my interest.
I liked the concept of defending someone close to you even though you might have doubts about their innocense. This has to be a heart wrenching ordeal. I did not, however like any of the characters. There was no one that I could root for. They were all weak, both in character and ther inability to prosecute or defend Jacob. Jacob is a mealy mouthed teen age brat/loser. There is nothing about Jacob that is endearing.
This was my first Landay and have no great feelings one way or the other.
The narrations was ok, not great.
No, because I just couldn't get into any of the characters.
I could see the appeal for buying this book, but mostly I was disappointed...
Top of my list.
Made me laugh then shook my head. Parents can be very naive.
My favorite audiobook thus far. Great to see both sides of an attorney as a prosecutor and parent.
The story kept me wondering who really did it up until the end. I didn't want the story to end.
Mom for accepting the truth
I wouldn't change it
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.