Defending Jacob by William Landay

Originally posted 2017-01-28 12:00:49.

When District Attorney Andrew Barber begins investigating the murder of a fourteen-year-old boy, he assumes that the neighborhood pedophile is the culprit. Just as he begins gathering evidence, however, his own son, Jacob, is charged with the gruesome stabbing. Like any parents, Andy and his wife Laurie are appalled at the accusation…initially, at least. Then things start coming to light about Jacob, who has some creepy hobbies that include burying live animals and frequent visits to “torture porn” websites. While Laurie expresses mounting concerns regarding the possibility of her son’s guilt, Andy cannot or will not acknowledge the increasingly troublesome evidence.


This is the best book I’ve read all summer. Intertwining a courtroom drama with a family’s destruction and a psychological thriller, Landay clearly knows how to grab your attention and not let it go until the very end. With an unrelenting pace and well-timed revelations about Jacob, the novel allows an understanding of Laurie’s mounting fears, but also of Andy’s inability to see his son as being capable of something so terrible.

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