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Publisher's Summary

Andy Barber's job is to put killers behind bars. So when a boy from his son Jacob's school is found stabbed to death, Andy is doubly determined to find and prosecute the perpetrator. Until a crucial piece of evidence turns up linking Jacob to the murder. In the face of every parent's worst nightmare, Andy and his wife Laurie will do anything to defend their child. Because, deep down, they know him better than anyone. Don't they?

©2012 William Landay (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Minnie
  • Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 02-18-13

How far would you be prepared to go for your child

What made the experience of listening to Defending Jacob the most enjoyable?

To listen to a book requires discipline and as an undisciplined reader, I sometimes struggle with the pace of a book. As a listener, the narrator decides what you know or don't know and how fast you learn it. The challenge for me is not to cheat!

Who was your favorite character and why?

This was more an ensemble narrative. Every character was important and liking or disliking them was irrelevant to me. As a story from the perspective of the father I suppose he should be the most likeable but he is too obtuse to be outstanding.

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

He has a clear mellifluous voice, able to create characters with subtle shifts of timbre and rate of speech. He created a believable mother and differentiated between the male characters with an authentic voice. Jacob was young and whiney enough but not so much that he irritated...as true teenagers often do.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and no. Yes because I wanted so desperately to know what was going to happen and no because I did not want to finish listening to a masterpiece.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Satisfyingly detailed and intriguing

I enjoyed Defending Jacob very much. I first listened to this book three years ago, and had managed to forget enough key details to be still captivated the second time around. (This is not intended as any criticism of the author or story line. Forgetting books is a skill I encourage in myself!)
Beautifully narrated, there are plenty of plot twists as well as clues, so all preferred styles should be catered for.
Particularly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good court room drama.

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Exhausting

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who are not irritated by lots of repetition.

What could William Landay have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Skip the names during the court hearings....

Would you be willing to try another one of Eric Meyers’s performances?

probably not, boring and slow performance.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The idea of: how far would you go to protect your children is interesting, but it was pretty obvious from the beginning how far he would go.

Any additional comments?

I think this is a book you hate or love, would probably recommend the printed version. I thought it was too slow, there were no peaks or suspense. I didn't even like the characters.

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  • Vira
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 02-15-14

Insightful family and community drama

A very well written and narrated novel (which almost felt like a true account) of what a family and a community goes through, when this kind of incident occurs.

It draws the reader/listener in fully. I felt as if I were right there, with the family during dinner or breakfast discussions, driving to court, feeling their emotions. Frustration, concern and worry over their uncommunicative youngster became my own. I felt the pain of the murdered boys family, felt the ostracising and blame by the community.

One feels the tension between the mother's willingness to see hard truths yet still love her son, and the father's propensity to cover all in his strong sense of loyalty.

A very worthwhile and interesting read, with a strong psychological component.

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  • Cidem
  • Marrickville, Australia
  • 09-30-12

Excellent premise

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I had to put this audio book on 2x speed, it just went into too much detail

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, I really did not expect the ending at all.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Andy tells his wife his past, I really didn't think it mattered so much but her reaction becomes crucial to the rest of the story

  • Overall
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  • Story

Not bad by not quite up to the hype

What did you like best about Defending Jacob? What did you like least?

The part of the book that dealt with the impact of Jacob's arrest and trial on the Barber family was the best aspect for me. The family sort of imploded under the pressure and this was well depicted and poignant, especially if you consider that the impact would have been the same regardless of the boy's guilt! I wasn't so taken with the individual characters who I found a little unbelievable (how could such a warm, loving, outgoing person as Laurie Barber end up with not one friend to stick by her through a crisis for example?). I also found the thread about inherited propensity for violence poorly dealt with.

Would you be willing to try another book from William Landay? Why or why not?

Honestly I'm not sure, perhaps so but I won't be at the head of the queue.

What aspect of Eric Meyers???s performance would you have changed?

Nothing, I really enjoyed the narration and was especially impressed with his voice for Jacob. It's hard for adults to 'do' teenagers but Meyers does it well.

Did Defending Jacob inspire you to do anything?

Never commit a crime? But seriously, no.

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  • sarahmoose2000
  • 07-16-13

We need to talk about Jacob

Written in a similar vein to "We need to talk about Kevin". You have this feeling of doom from the outset and actually partly dread the reveal as you know it's going to be bad.

This is the first time I've got so into a book, I'll put off other housework to listen to it! It's not a simple case of did the son commit a murder, it's the impact it has on the family and the past the father has to face for the first time.

A great listen, you'll enjoy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • lonereader
  • 07-09-13

Heartwrenching, doomed and simply perfect

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend it highly, but not when one is in the mood for a light read. This is a story narrated by a father and District Attourney that finds himself on the other side of the barricade defending Jacob, his teenage son who is accused of murdering a classmate.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Defending Jacob?

The ending is somehow unresolved but heartbreaiking and memorable,

What about Eric Meyers’s performance did you like?

He was perfect in conveying the attitude of the narrating protagonist, who tries to remain calm while his world slowly but inexorably disintegrates

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are several moments in the story where your heart really aches for the protagonist, <br/>I found it particularly moving when he "discovers" the cruel teenagers' internet world, and what they say to and about his son, or when by chance they meet the family of the murdered boy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • A.Connor
  • 11-09-16

phenomenal characterisation - recommend 100%

Defending Jacob is created & crafted, a huge head & shoulders above ordinary. Landay is to be congratulated on immense characterisation & a plot smarty-pants here thought she'd cracked but couldn't! Read & be riveted!

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  • Rajinder Kaur Atwal
  • 10-08-16

gripping novel

I was hooked from the start. a great book which is well read. the characters are so well written that I sometimes forgot it was a work of fiction. it is desperately sad and at times chilling

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  • Mrs
  • 12-22-15

Unfolding legal drama

I enjoyed this book, a tale of a murder of a teenager in an American town, and the involvement of the father of the boy accused of the crime. It was maybe a bit overlong for the amount of story, and the ending let it down a bit, but overall it is worth a listen.

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  • Mrs. K. I. Richards
  • 03-06-15

a fathers trust

Any additional comments?

the question is can you be born a killer? from the start to the end of the book Jacobs father believes Jacob is innocent.<br/>well drawn characters with a good plotline and American court procedure.<br/>although this story is very good I feel it a one listen/read only.<br/>eric Meyers did a reasonable job of performing the book but I found there wasn't a big enough difference between the teenagers voices and the female voices.

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  • Ecovisitor
  • 09-12-14

Disturbing and relentless

Would you listen to Defending Jacob again? Why?

No- too many other audio books to discover to listen twice!

What did you like best about this story?

The relentlessness of the pace and action- just kept wanting to know what happened next.

Have you listened to any of Eric Meyers’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

How far would you go to protect your son.....

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  • SERENA
  • 10-06-13

Good legal thriller

Where does Defending Jacob rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

So far it ranks No. 2 out of 3

Who was your favorite character and why?

Andy. I liked how he's always on his son's side, despite the many doubts.

What does Eric Meyers bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He definitely plays well the characters during the several legal debates. I like how easily he shift from Andy to Neil, for example.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

How well do you think you know your adolescent child?

Any additional comments?

I found it a bit too long, some legal details could have been left out and the story wouldn't have suffered.

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  • Judith
  • 07-18-13

Introspective court room drama

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The ending is abrupt and leaves many unanswered questions, not least why was the main character in front of a grand jury?

Would you be willing to try another book from William Landay? Why or why not?

Probably wouldn't try another, this was an interesting listen on a long car journey but slow progress on plot made it hard going

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Performance was ok just never keen on men imitating women as they usually just sound pathetic

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Possibly

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  • AnnieJuly
  • 11-21-17

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  • Layla Sacker
  • 05-01-16

Riveting -

Would you listen to Defending Jacob again? Why?

I so enjoyed the alternating between a psychological thriller and a trial. The dialogue structure both revealed characters and motive and the structure of the book held me in its grip.

What did you like best about this story?

Gradual unfolding of complexity and character. I thought I knew what would happen but then WHAM the plot shifts. I also loved the notion of the narrator being the protagonist. His insights or sometimes lack of insight into his motivation and interpretation was wonderful

What about Eric Meyers’s performance did you like?

I particularly liked the rasping tone he used for some characters. ( don''t want to do spoiler alert) He was able to voice male and female characters, vulnerable and assertive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jades666
  • 10-23-17

recommended ++++

loved the story, the narrator & the twist I didn't see coming, I wanted to read/listen to more