Posted in Book Review

Defending Jacob by William Landay

defending jacobSYNOPSIS

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected, admired in the courtroom, happy at home with the loves of his life: his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob.

Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.

Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

How far would you go?


This book is so much more than a crime/thriller. It is from the point of view of Andy Barber. The narrative is mixed. It goes parallel to Andy’s dialogue in the witness box and the murder of Ben Rifkin. The story is beautifully fused with his testimony.

In his state, an adolescent accused of murder is tried as an adult. Jacob is 14, allegedly killed his classmate Ben Rifkin. There is enough evidence to prove his guilt. But Andy, whose faith in his son does not falter, relentlessly pursues other leads. He is himself an Assistant DA; he knows how the system works. Thus, he does everything in his power to save his son.

What I loved is the emotional and psychological effects of a trial. The book demonstrates how a family suffers from a trial, how it destroys the peace and joy of a family. It doesn’t matter what the court’s verdict is, the jury of your peers already has theirs. It is family drama, a love story and something which stays with you forever. It tests the limits of parent’s belief of their child.

The author builds anticipation and the climax delivers! I can’t say anymore without spoilers. I’m going to end this short review with a 4/5 star rating.




I'm a 20-year-old law student who loves writing, reading and drawing.

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