Review

Hollowpoint: A Novel

by Rob Reuland



Here is what I want you to do.

Pick up the phone. Order a ton of, uh, manure to be dumped in your
front yard. After it's dumped, take your best shovel and move it to
your back yard, shovel by shovel by shovel. After you get the last
little bit of honey-scented material out of your front yard and
around back, take that same shovel and move it all back to the
front yard, shovel by shovel. Repeat. Oh, I forget to mention one
thing. Tie a 10 pound weight around you while you're doing it, and
tie one hand behind your back, too. That'll give you an idea of
what it is like to be a district attorney, or "D.A.," as they are
referred to. The D.A.s, or prosecutors, are the sanitation
engineers in the backed-up sewers that are more commonly known as
"cities." Here is how it works. Or how it is supposed to work,
anyway. The police are the garbage collectors. They bring the
garbage in. The D.A. is supposed to make sure the garbage gets to
the dump and stays there. There are all sorts of people who keep
trying to undo the twist ties and let the garbage out, but we'll
talk about them another time. Sounds like a video game, doesn't it?
Except it never ends and the D.A. never wins. So if you want to see
what it is like being a D.A., start shoveling. Or, read
HOLLOWPOINT.

HOLLOWPOINT is author Rob Reuland's first novel. It is hard to
believe that a first timer out of the blocks could write a book
that is so good, so interesting, so real on so many different
levels. But here it is. Exhibit A, if you will. Reuland, as the
jacket says, "is a senior assistant district attorney in the
homicide bureau of the Brooklyn D.A.'s office." By amazing
coincidence, the same can be said of Andrew Giobberti. "Gio," as
his friends call him, used to care about his job, and be quite good
at it. A combination of factors, however, have changed him. The
long hours, the endless parade of miscreants, the weight of human
misery, and yes, the shoveling of offal from Point A to Point B.
But what really caused Gio to skip loose of his moorings was the
death of his five-year-old daughter. Now he is perpetually broke,
habitually drunk and chronically on the make. While it is hard not
to feel sorry for Gio, it is even harder to like him.

When we meet Gio he is prosecuting a case so much like his others
that he is almost doing it by rote. The victim is a 14-year-old
girl with an infant daughter, a coked-up mother, and a
guilty-looking boyfriend. There is a lot that is wrong with this
by-the-numbers prosecution, however. Gio doesn't care; the
boyfriend looks good for it --- close enough for rock 'n' roll,
anyway --- and even if he didn't do this one, so what? As Aunt
Polly used to say about her nephew Tom Sawyer, he wouldn't miss a
lick. Everyone, from the investigating cop to Stacy, Gio's young,
attractive associate, knows that there is something wrong with this
prosecution. Gio, however, couldn't care less what the cops think
and is only interested in what Stacy thinks when she is drunk and
underneath him. Meanwhile, Gio's moments, both sober and drunken,
are haunted by the memories of his deceased daughter. He is
teetering on the edge of destruction, both personally and
professionally. No matter which way he falls, he'll take someone
with him. But who?

HOLLOWPOINT is a dark, haunting book --- think of a depressed
Dennis Lehane --- that has kept me up too late. Not reading it ---
no, that only took an afternoon. I'm still dealing with the
aftershocks. I hope you deal with them better than I have. If the
events in HOLLOWPOINT aren't true, it's only because they haven't
happened yet. They will. Read and be forewarned.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Hollowpoint: A Novel
by Rob Reuland

  • Publication Date: March 12, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 037575864X
  • ISBN-13: 9780375758645