Book Review: Defending Jacob

I just finished up listening to the book Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landy.

It was a really good book.  It’s a court room drama and I tend to like them…yep, there’s a twist at the end too.

Andy Barber and his wife Laurie are well respected people in their community.  Andy a District Attorney and Laurie a school teacher are blind sided when their son Jacob is charged with killing a school classmate.  As the trial goes on the book outlines the change in relationships with community members and within the family unit.

The story is told by Andy and through Andy’s eyes.  He wants to believe the best about it his son so sometimes the reader is forced to step back from Andy’s perspective and judge for themselves on how to interpret evidence.  I listened to this as an audiobook and very much enjoyed this.  Some reviewers on Amazon suggest that the book is a little slow as some of the courtroom testimony tells about things the reader already learns from earlier reading.  For me, that was not true and was part of character building….do we believe the testimony of the cop who was Andy’s best friend?  Do we believe the testimony of Jacob’s best friend?  Who is telling the truth…who is distorting it and is anyone lying?  How will these changes in testimony affect the ultimate verdict?  Will the truth ever be told?

The story brings out what they call a “murder gene”.  Are people capable of passing down a “murder gene” to their children through DNA? Certainly we can pass on high blood pressure, cholesterol issues and the like, why not a “murder gene”?  If this “murder gene” can be passed on, then how do you as a parent feel if you are the one who passed it down?  All of this is brought to the reader’s attention for consideration.

All in all it was a good read…or shall I say “listen”.   I am off to check to see if he has written more books….

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Defending Jacob”

  1. I read this book a few months ago and enjoyed it. it reminded me a lot of Jodi Picoult, who is one of my favorites. it was a good read.

  2. I finished it a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. I am currently reading Life Sentence and don’t like it as much but it is an interesting story. I think I have the ending figured out but it will probably be a surprise.

  3. Whoops! Sorry, got my authors mixed up. The book Life Sentence is by David Ellis. It has a similar story line and I thought they were the same author.

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