In Defending Jacob, Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected, admired, and happy. Then Andy's. Defending Jacob By William Landay. Book Discussion Guide. Prepared by Caitlin Costa. About the book: At home, Andy Barber is a quiet family man, a devoted. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay. January 16, Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban.
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Andy Barber is an assistant district attorney in Newton, Massachusetts. He is investigating the murder of a year-old boy, Ben Rifkin, who was a classmate of his son Jacob. Andy initially suspects Leonard Patz, a known local pedophile.
Unsettled, Andy disposes off the knife.
The finding shocks Andy and his wife, Laurie, but does not shake their belief in his innocence. Jacob claims that he found Ben dead in the park and tried to revive him. While Jacob spends the night in jail, Andy reveals to Laurie that his father, Billy Barber, was a convicted murderer and rapist who was serving his life sentence in jail.
Just when things look bad for Jacob, Leonard Patz is found hanging in his house. Jacob is cleared of all charges. He visits his father again and learns that he had hired a hitman to kill Patz and leave behind the note.
Billy expresses regret over his life in prison and realized he did not want the same for Jacob. Andy is angered by this since he believes Jacob is innocent and would have been cleared anyway.
Wanting to put the whole ordeal behind them, the Barber family decide to go on a vacation to Jamaica. There, Jacob meets a girl named Hope Connors and the two become close. The next day, Hope is reported missing.
Her body is found several weeks later, washed up ashore with evidence pointing to her windpipe being crushed. On their way back from an interview, Laurie crashes the car she is driving with Jacob in it, instantly killing him, while sustaining critical injuries herself.
Landay viewed Defending Jacob as a deviation from his usual style of writing, explaining: You could call Defending Jacob a crime novel, too, but you could just as easily call it a family drama".
What followed was a very long discussion about how the story could end in a way that was both big enough to be dramatically satisfying yet small enough to be credible for the ordinary people who populate the book".
Defending Jacob received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the book's subject matter and handling of court scenes. Patrick Andersen of Washington Post called it an "exceptionally serious, suspenseful, engrossing story", with an ending that was "all too real, all too painful, all too haunting".
But with a grabby premise and careful plotting, he keeps you turning the pages through the shocking gut-punch of an ending".