Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: Defending Jacob by William Landay



Defending Jacob by William Landay, narrated by Grover Gardner
Blackstone Audio; 2012
Fiction; 12 hrs, 25 min
From the Publisher: 
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.  
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty 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 fourteen-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.

My thoughts: Oh my G-d.  Read. This. Now.  That is all.

What I liked (because my husband wants more):
  • The narrator was spot on in his narration as Andy Barber.  Spot. On.  Annoying and all.
  • The way the author touched upon the impact a murder charge would have on the family, particularly as a parent.
  • What was said.
  • What wasn't said.
  • The level of attention to detail in terms of the court process, particularly the defense.
  • Defending Jacob is the very definition of suspense.
  • How heartbreaking this book was.
  • How discussion worthy this book is, and how I still can't stop thinking of it or talking about it.

The title says it all.  This really isn't a book about Jacob so much as it is about defending Jacob.  Jacob is a big part of the story, but it really is the story of his father and how his father--and the family--deals with the charges against his son.  There were a couple of moments in which the story could be seen as going off the rails, but I felt, in both instances, it worked for the book.  I bought it.  I could see it happening the way William Landay describes.

And a final note: I didn't particularly like anybody in this book.  Maybe the mom.  I felt sorry for her most of the time.  It didn't matter though.  This book was that good.

Rating: * (Outstanding)

You can learn more about William Landay and his book on the author's website

Source: I bought an audio copy of this book for my own listening pleasure.


© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

26 comments:

  1. I know what you mean......How about that ending???
    Loved the book.

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    1. Diane - The ending was quite something, Diane. It was a white knuckle ending I didn't see coming. So intense!

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  2. A friend of mine read this when it first came out and keeps urging me to read it. Every time I see her, she asks me if I've read it. Between her and you, I need to pull it out of my stacks.

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    1. Kathy - It was such an interesting book--so much to it! I hope you do read it, Kathy.

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  3. The ending almost made me ill! OMG. Now you know why just about every book club in America is reading this thing. So much to discuss.

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    1. Sandy - I can definitely see why this is a popular book club pick!

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  4. 'Read. This. Now' - Well, you certainly don't get much of a better recommendation than this. So glad that this book was that good, I'm hoping our library will have a copy that is in print instead of audio.

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    1. Steph - I'm trying to get my boss to read this one. Her husband is an assistant district attorney, and I'm curious what her take on it will be.

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  6. Great review. I already read the book but I liked hearing your point of view. I especially liked your line,"I didn't particularly like anybody in this book". Yes! I felt the same way. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Rita - Thanks, Rita. I always am awed by the books that win me over despite how unlikable the characters are.

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  7. Not my usual genre but your review sold me. Can't wait to read this (also I sometimes like books where I don't particularly like anyone).

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  8. I've seen this book but I don't think it sparked my interest enough to pick it up but wow, now I must add this to my list! It does sound good and it sounds like it delivers a great story.

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    1. Iliana - I really enjoyed the audio version and am glad I chose to take it in that way.

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  9. Suspenseful and heartbreaking? Sounds like something I'd enjoy.

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  10. I downloaded this to my Kindle and started reading it last night. You are a bad influence on me! :-D

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    1. Steph - It's only fair. :-) I am glad you ended up liking it!

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  11. Wow! Quite an endorsement. This one has been languishing on my to-read list forever. I need to get to it!

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    1. Stacy - I say that about quite a few books you review. :-)

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  12. I listened to the audio version of this book last summer and thought it was amazing! (Review here) What an ending, eh?! It's one I wish I could discuss with a book club. I'm eager to try more by Landy.

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    1. Les - That ending . . . I didn't see it coming, that's for sure. As shocking as it was, it still worked.

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