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Customer Review

27 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It Was OK But Too Much Foreshadowing, February 1, 2012
This review is from: Defending Jacob: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really wanted to like this book. The premise just seemed so good: long time prosecutor in a small upper middle class suburban town finds himself in a position of having to defend his own teenage son against a murder charge. Seriously, does it get any better than this?

I wish it did. The story is told through a series of court transcripts (can we say D R Y???) and narrative, and the major problem comes down to foreshadowing. I understand this is a tool some authors use, and I also understand it can be used very effectively. However, Mr. Landay does not use it effectively here. Rather, he uses it in ways that reveals where the story is going and "who dun it." At the same time, Mr. Landay is attempting to bring in a defense of a supposed "murder gene," where if some one's ancestor's have murdered, then that individual is more likely to murder. By the time the trial starts (almost halfway through the book) if a reader is in anyway good at solving mysteries, they will know who did as the author will have given it away. Dull, dull, dull!!

Oh, but the author does leave a "twist" at the end for readers who think the only exciting thing about this book is solving the murder. The problem is, the twist is, well, anti-climatic and not very effective, in my opinion.

I really did not like the characters in this book, and that also added to my dislike. Andy Barber, the main protagonist, is supposed to be a crack prosecutor. However, when it comes to his own son being accused of murder, he suddenly buries his head in the sand as if none of the screaming red flags make any sense. One wonders exactly why this guy ended up the #1 ADA for this county, when he seems to act so out of character. Jacob Barber, Andy's son who has been accused of murder, seems to be such a reclusive nerd with such an attitude problem, it's difficult to see how neither parent could have seen this before the incident, yet could afterwards.

And the biggest thing that was never made clear to me in this book? Jacob Barber is 14 years old, in Middle School. He is brought up on murder charges, and is sitting in a regular courtroom, in front of a jury. (Juvenile offenders never have juries) Huh?!?! 14 years old and being tried as an adult for capital murder, when he had no previous record of anything? Really?? I could see if he was 16 or 17, but 14? That was really just too much for me.

I know this is a work of fiction, and I can appreciate that. However, I feel as the author could have spent more effort in making this story seem real, and I don't think it would have taken all that much. I was expecting a really good story. I experienced a let down.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 4, 2012 3:05:41 PM PST
Ricky N. says:
Massachusetts allows for those under 17 to be tried as an adult, so a 14 year old accused of a particularly heinous crime can be tried as an adult. Many other states allow this for murder by a youthful offender. I read your review because it is the only one out of 43 that has less than 3 stars as I read this. You make some good points, but when my library gets it, I think I will read it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 9:28:19 AM PST
911gal says:
I also had trouble with the way this middle-schooler talked. Not like any I've ever heard; more like a late high-schooler.

Posted on Feb 27, 2012 11:23:00 PM PST
Spindrift says:
@M.D.....would it be presumptuous of me to assume you are not a parent?
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Review Details



M. Galindo

Location: Orange, CA United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 24,079