This first novel from a Brooklyn A.D.A. is—what else?—a report from the trenches of the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.
And an unforgettably seamy world it is, too, light-years from the glossy courtroom dramas Reuland deftly skewers in passing ("Chain-smoking, gutter-mouthed state prosecutor Jane Starr is back from maternity leave, so watch out serial killers!" ). It's a place where rap sheets as long as your arm sprout like mushrooms after a spring rain, where grand juries act as bored as the gangbangers they're asked to indict, where the cops can barely contain their contempt for the prosecutors who plead down every case they've sweated to bring them. So when Kayla Harris, already a mother at 14, is shot to death in her bedroom, expectations don't run high for Andrew Giobberti, the burned-out A.D.A. assigned to the case. There are no clues, no motive—only one witness's statement that she saw neighboring Lamar Lamb leaving Kayla's place just after the shot. And Gio, fallen from his perch as Homicide chief after his carelessness cost his daughter's life and he let heroin dealer Milton Echeverria go free because he forgot to make Echeverria waive his immunity before his grand jury testimony, is no more motivated to dig deeper than he was to hold his failing marriage together or open up emotionally to Stacey Sharp, the rookie A.D.A who's been solacing him on the Naugahyde couch in his old office. Against the odds, though, Gio finds that this case is different from all the others, not so much because the sordid details will turn out to be any different but because they'll entangle Gio himself in the responsibility for Kayla Harris's death.
Jaundiced prosecutors, cynical cops, victims no better than they should be, loveless coupling, and endless, meaningless violence: here is God's plenty for readers who wonder whether John Grisham's playbook may be a few chapters short.