Review: Defending Jacob by William Landay


Defending Jacob by William Landy

Delacorte Press, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House,  inc. New York, 2012

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

Within just a few pages of reading Defending Jacob, I was hooked.  Author William Landy hits a perfectly mystifying tone.

Lead assistant district attorney Andrew Barber’s adolescent son, Jacob, is accussed of murdering a classmate.  In the beginning hours of the murder investigation, Mr. Barber is in charge of handling the DA’s case.  When it becomes apparent that his son is the main suspect, another assistant attorney, Neal Logiudice takes over.

This novel is peppered with transcripts of grand jury testimony where tense comments are traded between Mr. Logiudice and the ‘witness’, Andrew Barber.  This adds to building questions and suspense that surround Defending Jacob.

Andy holds on tight to the belief that his son did not comitt murder.  Despite strange revelations about his son and the strain on his wife, he still holds on to the belief that his son is innocent.  It is inconceivable to him that a father could think otherwise.

As a former district attorney, author, William Landy brings a realistic inside look into the criminal system.  I had read that this novel had a surprising conclusion.  I was trying to guess what it might be while reading.  In the end, I was surprised.

First Paragraph

1 | In the Grand Jury

Mr. Logiudice: State your name, please.

Witness: Andrew Barber.

Mr. Logiudice: What do you do for work, Mr. Barber?

Witness: I was an assistant district attorney in this county for 22 years.

Mr. Logiudice: “Was.” What do you do for work now?

Witness: I suppose you’d say I’m unemployed.

In April 2008, Neal Logiudice finally subpoenaed me to appear before the grand jury.  By then it was too late.  Too late for his case, certainly, but also too late for Logiudice.  His reputation was already damaged beyond repair, and his career along with it.  A prosecutor can limp along with a damaged reputation for awhile, but his colleagues will watch him like wolves and eventually he will be forced out, for the good of the pack.  I have seen it many times: an ADA is irreplaceable one day, forgotten the next.”

About The Author (from the inside jacket cover)

“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 lies in Boston, where he is at work on his next novel of suspense.”


Book Trailer


  1. I love this book. Have read it once and then listened to it on audio (very well done, by the way) to reacquaint myself with it for discussion with my book group. It was quite the discussion. Lots to talk about. Lots to consider and think about. What would you do – how would you handle – how far would you go – etc. I’m waiting for William Landay to give us another book. 🙂


  2. 5.0 Stars always gets my attention. This one sure sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing. I added to my wish list — now to hint to my family to get me some of my wishes. 🙂


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