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Summary

Andy Barber's job is to put killers behind bars. So when a boy from his son Jacob's school is found stabbed to death, Andy is doubly determined to find and prosecute the perpetrator. Until a crucial piece of evidence turns up linking Jacob to the murder. In the face of every parent's worst nightmare, Andy and his wife Laurie will do anything to defend their child. Because, deep down, they know him better than anyone. Don't they?

©2012 William Landay (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

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What listeners say about Defending Jacob

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

We need to talk about Jacob

Written in a similar vein to "We need to talk about Kevin". You have this feeling of doom from the outset and actually partly dread the reveal as you know it's going to be bad.

This is the first time I've got so into a book, I'll put off other housework to listen to it! It's not a simple case of did the son commit a murder, it's the impact it has on the family and the past the father has to face for the first time.

A great listen, you'll enjoy it.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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‘enjoyed this - on the ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ theme (sort of..)

I’d recommend this as worth a listen, ‘nicely written if pretty improbable in parts; diverting & well-narrated, ‘kept me listening.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Heartwrenching, doomed and simply perfect

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend it highly, but not when one is in the mood for a light read. This is a story narrated by a father and District Attourney that finds himself on the other side of the barricade defending Jacob, his teenage son who is accused of murdering a classmate.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Defending Jacob?

The ending is somehow unresolved but heartbreaiking and memorable,

What about Eric Meyers’s performance did you like?

He was perfect in conveying the attitude of the narrating protagonist, who tries to remain calm while his world slowly but inexorably disintegrates

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are several moments in the story where your heart really aches for the protagonist,
I found it particularly moving when he "discovers" the cruel teenagers' internet world, and what they say to and about his son, or when by chance they meet the family of the murdered boy.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Engaging and riveting.

This was very well read, I felt like Andy was talking directly to me and that I really knew him by the end. Ultimately, this is a book about the complexity of family, what it means to be a parent and the reality of unconditional love. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A gripping tale, well told

I really couldn't put this book down, I just had to know how the story unfolded. Some aspects of how it was written was frustrating with odd queries / inaccuracies (eg how did police have the boy's fingerprints? ) but overall, the plot was carefully crafted abd well told by the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Best twist I have ever read

Well written and great story. I will say that the back and forth between the main charactor and the lawyer started to get very annoying. The end though, WOW!!! Stick with it, Great conversation starter about what would you do?

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A long court room book

It was an ok book but hard listen to court room accounts on an audio book

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Excellent

Very heavy content but so well written. You feel for both parents as infuriating as the father is, I understand his denial of how evil his son really is. And the mother...my heart just aches for her as she realises what she’s borne into the world and that she’s alone in dealing with it as her husband refuses to accept what his son is.

As others have stated, the family dynamics are quite similar to those presented in ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’.

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Thrilling listen

I watched the TV series and then decided to get the audiobook. The audiobook was even better. It captured my attention throughout.

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Fantastic

Very much along the lines of We Need to Talk About Kevin and just as good. If you liked that you will love this.

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  • Minnie
  • 18-02-13

How far would you be prepared to go for your child

What made the experience of listening to Defending Jacob the most enjoyable?

To listen to a book requires discipline and as an undisciplined reader, I sometimes struggle with the pace of a book. As a listener, the narrator decides what you know or don't know and how fast you learn it. The challenge for me is not to cheat!

Who was your favorite character and why?

This was more an ensemble narrative. Every character was important and liking or disliking them was irrelevant to me. As a story from the perspective of the father I suppose he should be the most likeable but he is too obtuse to be outstanding.

What does Eric Meyers bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He has a clear mellifluous voice, able to create characters with subtle shifts of timbre and rate of speech. He created a believable mother and differentiated between the male characters with an authentic voice. Jacob was young and whiney enough but not so much that he irritated...as true teenagers often do.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and no. Yes because I wanted so desperately to know what was going to happen and no because I did not want to finish listening to a masterpiece.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cassaon888
  • 03-11-19

Loved it!

Throughout the book, you know the truth, but you keep listening. And when you get to the end, you realise you weren't prepared.

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  • Kaye Sena
  • 30-12-15

Satisfyingly detailed and intriguing

I enjoyed Defending Jacob very much. I first listened to this book three years ago, and had managed to forget enough key details to be still captivated the second time around. (This is not intended as any criticism of the author or story line. Forgetting books is a skill I encourage in myself!)
Beautifully narrated, there are plenty of plot twists as well as clues, so all preferred styles should be catered for.
Particularly recommended for anyone who enjoys a good court room drama.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mei
  • 04-05-15

Exhausting

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who are not irritated by lots of repetition.

What could William Landay have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Skip the names during the court hearings....

Would you be willing to try another one of Eric Meyers’s performances?

probably not, boring and slow performance.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The idea of: how far would you go to protect your children is interesting, but it was pretty obvious from the beginning how far he would go.

Any additional comments?

I think this is a book you hate or love, would probably recommend the printed version. I thought it was too slow, there were no peaks or suspense. I didn't even like the characters.

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  • Vira
  • 15-02-14

Insightful family and community drama

A very well written and narrated novel (which almost felt like a true account) of what a family and a community goes through, when this kind of incident occurs.

It draws the reader/listener in fully. I felt as if I were right there, with the family during dinner or breakfast discussions, driving to court, feeling their emotions. Frustration, concern and worry over their uncommunicative youngster became my own. I felt the pain of the murdered boys family, felt the ostracising and blame by the community.

One feels the tension between the mother's willingness to see hard truths yet still love her son, and the father's propensity to cover all in his strong sense of loyalty.

A very worthwhile and interesting read, with a strong psychological component.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Cidem
  • 30-09-12

Excellent premise

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I had to put this audio book on 2x speed, it just went into too much detail

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, I really did not expect the ending at all.

Which scene was your favorite?

When Andy tells his wife his past, I really didn't think it mattered so much but her reaction becomes crucial to the rest of the story

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • BSquaredInOz
  • 13-05-12

Not bad by not quite up to the hype

What did you like best about Defending Jacob? What did you like least?

The part of the book that dealt with the impact of Jacob's arrest and trial on the Barber family was the best aspect for me. The family sort of imploded under the pressure and this was well depicted and poignant, especially if you consider that the impact would have been the same regardless of the boy's guilt! I wasn't so taken with the individual characters who I found a little unbelievable (how could such a warm, loving, outgoing person as Laurie Barber end up with not one friend to stick by her through a crisis for example?). I also found the thread about inherited propensity for violence poorly dealt with.

Would you be willing to try another book from William Landay? Why or why not?

Honestly I'm not sure, perhaps so but I won't be at the head of the queue.

What aspect of Eric Meyers???s performance would you have changed?

Nothing, I really enjoyed the narration and was especially impressed with his voice for Jacob. It's hard for adults to 'do' teenagers but Meyers does it well.

Did Defending Jacob inspire you to do anything?

Never commit a crime? But seriously, no.