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Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Reader Reviewed
Defending Jacob by William Landay

Defending Jacob

Thriller / Suspense   Crime / Mystery   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   
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Selected by Sarah Broadhurst

This stunning, sophisticated, legal thriller has been lauded with praise by some heavyweight crime authors [see the review section] and we can only agree. A community is shocked when a school boy is found brutally stabbed to death but it takes a shockingly personal turn when the son of the Assistant district attorney is implicated in the killing. How far will he go to protect his son? With twists, turns and some jaw dropping revelations it really is one that no crime fan should miss.

Click here to view videos of William Landay answering readers' questions about this book.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Defending Jacob a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'I am still thinking about the story five days later...You have to read Defending Jacob – it is quite simply a brilliant story!' Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like William Landay you might also like to read books by Steve Martini, David Hosp and Richard North Patterson.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Win Books from the Manon Bradshaw Thriller Series!

Persons Unknown, the second book in Susie Steiner's crime thriller series, is now out in paperback and to mark the publication we are giving away paperback copies of both Missing, Presumed and Persons Unknown to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 30 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 14 May 2018,

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


Defending Jacob by William Landay

When a teenaged boy is discovered stabbed to death in the woods adjoining the local high school, a wave of shock ripples through the suburban community of Newton, outside of Boston. Assistant district attorney Andy Barber is used to dealing with murder and its after-effects, but with his own son, Jacob, also a student at the school, he too is anxious for a swift arrest and conviction. But as the kids appear to be stonewalling the cops and the investigation stalls, evidence emerges that ties Jacob to the crime - and suddenly Andy faces a very different challenge: preventing his son from being convicted of murder. Together with his wife, Laurie, the family closes ranks in the midst of an increasingly hostile community as Andy prepares for the trial of his life, the one trial he cannot afford to lose. Especially when the emergence of his own dark family secrets threatens to undermine Jacob's defence. And as the drama reaches its climax, Andy and Laurie have to face every parent's toughest questions: how well do you really know your own child, and how far would you go to save them?


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Defending Jacob. You can read their reviews below.

Kelly Allen - 'Defending Jacob combines a courtroom drama with a rip roaring psychological thriller. Emotionally charged, suspenseful, and horrifyingly thrilling, it never let's up till the last page. Highly recommended.' Click here to read the full review.

Nicola Foster - 'This has to be one of the most amazing legal thrillers that I have ever had the privilege of reading. This riveting read forces you to consider just how far you too would go in order to protect someone you love, and it's no exaggeration to say that it had me on tenterhooks until the very last, nail-biting chapter' Click here to read the full review.

Fiona Maclean - 'The dialogue is well written and fast moving and the characterisation thorough... At the end, I was genuinely shocked, just as I was with ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’.' Click here to read the full review.

Patricia Whittaker - 'I thoroughly enjoyed this suspenseful, engrossing story. It was emotional and at times so very painful to read.' Click here to read the full review.

Rachel Bridgeman - 'This was an amazing book...You do have to pay attention to the plot as it is an involving thriller told from multiple angles...' Click here to read the full review.

Nicola Coopa - 'I thoroughly enjoyed this book which did keep me guessing... I could not put the book down during the last 1/4 and could feel my adrenaline racing as hints arose as to what might happen.' Click here to read the full review.

Judith Smith - 'this is a page turner that delves into family relationships and loyalties and the lengths people will go to protect their families...William Landay’s prose style is clear and easy to read, bringing all the characters to life with layers upon layers and twists and turns in the story, making this difficult to put down.' Click here to read the full review.

Tracey Poulter - 'The plot is well-structured, the questions it raises unsettling and the characters well-developed so that the reader really wants to know the outcome. The ending, although not predictable, is believable and, as a parent, leaves you wondering ‘What would I have done?’ Click here to read the full review.

Lynda DeFreitas - 'This book is well planned, well written and very well executed. A gradual build up of tension gives the reader a sense of unease that is heightened by the various disclosures and drip feed of information.' Click here to read the full review.

Jayne Burton - 'Nothing like my usual choice of book, but I chose it to stretch me – and that it did! Difficult to put down once I had started – very gripping and though provoking to the last page. Highly recommended.'

Sian Spinney 'You have to read Defending Jacob – it is quite simply a brilliant story!' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom 'The family’s predicament makes compelling and thought-provoking reading - I really felt for them. Nicola Foster An addictive combination of both courtroom and family drama, it delivers an unrelenting sense of tension and doubt right up until its final shocking conclusion.' Click here to read he full review.

Caroline Matthews 'It’s a long time since I’ve read a book that captivated me as much as this one. Lynda DeFreitas This book is well planned, well written and very well executed.' Click here to read the full review.

Louise Graham 'This book has it all, fantastic plot, many surprises and brilliantly written.' Click here to read the full review.

Lindsay Healy 'I really enjoyed this cracking thriller; it kept me guessing, it has an excellent pace to the story all the way through, and a surprising and unexpected ending.' Click here to read the full review.

Judy Connolly - 'This is the best legal thriller I have read since Presumed Innocent. The father's blind faith in his son, because he believes he is innocent, or not to have to unearth his past secret. The ending is a shock. I will definitely be looking out for more of his books. A really good read.'

Barbara Gaskell - 'The genre of legal thriller was new to me but as I enjoy watching court room dramas I opened the book with eager anticipation.' Click here to view the full review.

Author Praise for Defending Jacob:

‘Riveting, suspenseful, and emotionally searing…I thought Presumed Innocent packed a punch at the end. It was a slap compared to this’ LINWOOD BARCLAY

‘An unforgettable tale of an ordinary marriage and family in crisis… Landay has proven himself to be an extraordinary writer and Defending Jacob is an amazing novel’ NICHOLAS SPARKS

‘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

‘A stunning novel that will be compared to classic courtroom thrillers like Presumed Innocent and Anatomy of a Murder’ PHILLIP MARGOLIN

‘More than a terrific legal thrill ride, Defending Jacob is an unflinching appraisal of the darkest, most poignant consequences of the love that binds, and blinds, families’ STEPHEN WHITE

‘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

‘Brilliantly conceived . . . combines a harrowing family drama with riveting courtroom scenes that make readers feel they are actually witnessing the trial unfold’ STEPHEN FREY

About the Author

William Landay

William Landay was an assistant district attorney before he turned to writing. He is the author of two previous novels, Mission Flats and The Strangler. He lives in Boston with his family.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th February 2013


William Landay

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Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group)


512 pages


Thriller / Suspense
Crime / Mystery
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Crime & mystery



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