Defending Jacob: A Novel (Paperback)
A legal thriller with an intimate look at a family living through a
nightmare when their 14-year-old son is accused of murder. Social
media, new DNA research, and parenting in the 21st century are all
elements in this provocative pageturner with a “wow” ending.
February 2012 Indie Next List
“Engrossing from the first page, Defending Jacob will keep you on the edge of your seat and then it will break your heart. What appears to be the story of a lovely family with a teenage son becomes a nightmare of suspicions, accusations, isolation, condemnation, and ultimately tragedy when an assistant district attorney and his wife watch as their only son is arrested for the murder of a classmate. We tend to see those we love with our hearts, which is not always the same as reality, and life can come crashing down in a hurry. I was blown away by this book!”
— Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A legal thriller that’s comparable to classics such as Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent . . . tragic and shocking.”—Associated Press
NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED ORIGINAL STREAMING SERIES • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Entertainment Weekly • Boston Globe • Kansas City Star
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?
Praise for Defending Jacob
“A novel like this comes along maybe once a decade . . . a tour de force, a full-blooded legal thriller about a murder trial and the way it shatters a family. With its relentless suspense, its mesmerizing prose, and a shocking twist at the end, it’s every bit as good as Scott Turow’s great Presumed Innocent. But it’s also something more: an indelible domestic drama that calls to mind Ordinary People and We Need to Talk About Kevin. A spellbinding and unforgettable literary crime novel.”—Joseph Finder
“Defending Jacob is smart, sophisticated, and suspenseful—capturing both the complexity and stunning fragility of family life.”—Lee Child
“Powerful . . . leaves you gasping breathlessly at each shocking revelation.”—Lisa Gardner
“Disturbing, complex, and gripping, Defending Jacob is impossible to put down. William Landay is a stunning talent.”—Carla Neggers
“Riveting, suspenseful, and emotionally searing.”—Linwood Barclay
About the Author
William Landay is the author of The Strangler, a Los Angeles Times Favorite Crime Book of the Year, and Mission Flats, winner of the Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel and a Barry Award nominee. A former district attorney who holds degrees from Yale and Boston College Law School, Landay lives in Boston, where he is at work on his next novel of suspense.
“Ingenious . . . Nothing is predictable. All bets are off.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A legal thriller that’s comparable to classics such as Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent . . . Tragic and shocking, Defending Jacob is sure to generate buzz.”—Associated Press
“Stunning . . . a novel that comes to you out of the blue and manages to keep you reading feverishly until the whole thing is completed.”—The Huffington Post
“Gripping . . . [Landay] keeps you turning the pages through the shocking gut-punch of an ending.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Gripping, emotional murder saga . . . The shocking ending will have readers pulling up their bedcovers to ward off the haunting chill.”—People
“The hype is justified. . . . Exceptionally serious, suspenseful, engrossing.”—The Washington Post
“Not since Scott Turow has a crime thriller—any thriller, though this too happens to be a literary legal thriller—shaken me by the throat like this. It’s a stunning, shocking, emotionally harrowing ride in which the reader is plunged into a riveting but terrible murder trial and the equally heartbreaking implosion of a loving family.”—Daily Mail
“Even with unexpected twists and turns, the two narratives interlock like the teeth of a zipper, building to a tough and unflinching finale. This novel has major motion picture written all over it.”—The Boston Globe
“[William] Landay does the seemingly impossible by coming up with a new wrinkle in the crowded subgenre of courtroom thrillers. . . . It’s inevitable that he’ll be compared to Scott Turow, but this novel succeeds on its own merits.”—Kirkus Reviews