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The Missing File: A Novel

by D. A. Mishani

Library Journal Israeli author Mishani's excellent debut features police inspector Avraham Avraham, a mildly depressive type who lives in the rundown city of Holon. He has spent most of his time on investigations that require little thinking so when a woman reports her 16-year-old son's disappearance, the detective tells her to wait, since most runaways come home on their own. But the boy doesn't return. As the case progresses, it becomes progressively cloudier. Mishani tells his tale from the dual perspectives of Avraham and a neighbor whose preoccupation with the missing boy seems suspicious. An unanticipated admission leads to an unexpected conclusion, but there are surprises to the very end of this well-crafted book. VERDICT Avraham isn't at all like Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret but there's a commonality between Simenon's thrillers and this book, having to do with the dominance of place and atmosphere and the feeling detectives aren't supermen, just ordinary men doing their best at a nearly impossible job. Mystery lovers, especially fans of the late Israeli crime writer Batya Gur, will enjoy this work.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Inspector Avraham Avi Avraham is a veteran cop in Holon, a quiet suburb of Tel Aviv. Experience tells him that crime in Holon is pretty simple: no serial killers, and murder and rape are rare. So, when a distraught mother reports that her 16-year-old son didn't return from school, Avi assures her that the boy will turn up. But he doesn't, and Avi, a man filled with self-doubt and perhaps numbed by his town's lack of unusual crime, agonizes as the investigation lurches on. A primary source of his discomfort is a high-school teacher who had previously tutored the missing boy and proceeds to insert himself into the investigation in a way that seems inexplicable. The sense of place here is fascinating (Tel Aviv's suburbs seem both familiar and exotic), and the focus on Avi's state of mind, which is plumbed continuously, brings psychological depth. Procedural details are intriguing, too, suggesting that policing, at least in Holon, is a more humane enterprise than in the U.S. Armchair-traveler crime aficionados will welcome Mishani's debut and look forward to Avi's return.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Kirkus A missing person case provides an unexpected challenge for a suburban Tel Aviv police inspector. Aside from terrorism, there's very little crime in Israel. That, explains Inspector Avraham Avraham, is why so few detective novels are written in Hebrew. So when Hannah Sharabi comes to the station to report that her son Ofer left their apartment in Holon for school that morning and never returned, Avraham assures her that the 16-year-old probably left on his own and will eventually return. But Ofer doesn't turn up, and after a day, Avraham is forced to open an investigation. Much to his chagrin, young hotshot Eyal Shrapstein is assigned to help him. Shrapstein undermines Avraham's fragile authority almost as much as his older colleague Eliyahu Ma'alul supports him. Avraham's superior, Ilana Lis, is also supportive, but as the investigation stalls, her patience wears thin. Should Avraham focus more on Ofer's father, a seaman who was headed to Trieste when his son disappeared? On neighbor Ze'ev Avni, a teacher whose poor sense of boundaries may have pushed Ofer toward the edge? On one of the anonymous phone calls that make Shrapstein's ears twitch? Even a weeklong business trip to Brussels can't shake the Sharabi case from the mind of Avraham, who struggles to separate the truth from a tangle of evasions, misperceptions and outright lies. Mishani gives his unfortunately named sleuth a compelling debut in a complex case aimed straight at the reader's heart.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly At the beginning of literary scholar Mishani's outstanding first novel, Insp. Avraham Avraham of the Holon police tells a complainant that there are "no detective novels in Hebrew" because crimes in Israel are straightforward, with no real mystery. Subsequent events show that a crime committed in Israel can offer plenty of mystery. When Hannah Sharabi expresses anxiety about her 16-year-old son, Ofer, who's failed to return home from school, Avraham dismisses her concerns of foul play. As time passes and Ofer doesn't reappear, Avraham feels increasingly guilty. Officials soon launch an investigation, which becomes the obsessive focus of a neighbor of the Sharabi family, Ze'ev Avni, who tutored the high school boy. Avni can't stop involving himself in the case in bizarre and self-sabotaging ways. Mishani, the editor of international fiction and crime literature at Keter Books in Israel, puts his expertise in the genre to good use in combining the procedural and the puzzle with artful misdirection. Agent: Marc Koralnik, the Liepman Agency (Switz.). (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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