Defending Jacob

Landay, William

  7 Reviews

Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber is tasked with finding the killer of a boy who attends the same school as his teenage son Jacob. What starts off as a standard, albeit distressing investigation, becomes every parent's worst nightmare when Jacob is accused of the murder.

This clever and riveting story not only grapples with the intricacies of the legal system but confidently enters the nature versus nurture and child rearing debates.

Comments from Groups

Compelling reading. Group divided as to whether Jacob was innocent or not. Lively discussion on how to deal with bullying and recognising signs. Tauranga 023

All except one thoroughly enjoyed the book. We found it hard to put down. Discussion was long and interesting especially about how members viewed the three main characters. Would recommend this book. Doubtful Bay 001

Found this book stimulating and extremely well written. Lower Hutt 009

Half liked it, half didn't, but we had a very good discussion about some of the issues it raised. Dunedin 033

Clever use of a new scientific theory in a very plausible story. Mangaweka 001

A dark story involving the complexities of the US legal system. Lots of discussion generated around the style and structures of this story - some felt it lagged three- quarters of the way through. We also discussed whether we as parents are blind to our own childrens' faults or unusual habits. Some would have liked a more definitive ending. Christchurch 312

The general consensus was that the book started well and the courtroom parts were good, but that the ending was weak and the characters were not that well portrayed. Tauranga 016

Wow - what an interesting and scary concept! A fascinating story with great characters. A great read, although a little terrifying as a parent! Winton 002

Members without sons found this difficult to relate to and those with, found it slightly disturbing. How well do we really know our children? Auckland 255

It was felt almost unanimously to be an excellent book. The discussion provoked by the book itself and the generally probing questions was long and deep. Issues such as bullying, raising children in this electronic age and the whole nature-nurture debate kept us fully engaged. Hamilton 003

Some plot devices slightly forced, but so gripping. Waiheke 002

Most discussed book of the year - yet many of us didn't enjoy reading it! Matamata 009

Mixed reactions; from "hated it" to "loved it'. All agreed it was a page turner and generator of very interesting discussion around the law, relationships and child development. Levin 001

This was voted the best book we have read since joining BDS, by every member. We loved it! From beginning to end it captured your attention, and the twist at the end, no one saw coming. Highly recommended! Pukeko 003



TAUR 048
The whole group thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was well-written and the way the author tells the story from Andy Barber's perspective was very clever.
AUCK 399
Our group were all very involved in the discussion. Some felt the courtroom drama too long, but the sudden and unexpected ending surprised us all. It was an agonising read; a loving family in distress knowing their future was changed forever. The 'Murder Gene' probably the final straw! I expected higher scores.
Great story, well told. Some excellent and heated debate came out of this story. Very believable - or maybe not.
We loved this book. It provoked lots of discussion on family ties and how people block the unthinkable from their minds.
Interesting book - varied opinions on whether you would be able to see your own child's guilt. Most felt the father was odd at best, not a likeable man.
NELS 020
All our group bar one scored this book 9/10. Best for the year so far. Well developed characters. Lots of discussion around nature vs nurture and the aggressive 'warrior' gene. Quick read, a real page turner.
TAUR 055
Very well-written although an uncomfortable subject. The ending was unexpected but tied up all the threads through the book. We debated whether Jacob was actually guilty or not, and could it have been hereditary or not.