Book Review: The Missing File by D. A. Mishani

This is a review I wrote for ireadabookonce.com:

My first thoughts after reading this book?  Wow.  Here is the synopsis from the back cover:

Detective Avraham Avraham must find a teenage boy who has vanished from his quiet suburban neighborhood.

Police detective Avraham Avraham knows that when a crime is committed in his sleepy suburb of Tel Aviv, there is little need for a complex investigation. There are no serial killers or kidnappings here. The perpetrator is usually the neighbor, the uncle, or the father. As he has learned, the simplest explanation Missing Fileis always the answer.

But his theory is challenged when a sixteen-year-old boy named Ofer Sharabi disappears without a trace while on his way to school one morning. There is no simple explanation, and Avraham’s ordered world is consumed by the unimaginable perplexity of the case.

The more he finds out about the boy and his circumstances, the further out of reach the truth seems to be. Avraham’s best lead is Ofer’s older neighbor and tutor, Ze’ev Avni. Avni has information that sheds new light on the case—and makes him a likely suspect. But will the neighbor’s strange story save the investigation?

Told through dual perspectives, The Missing File is a crisp, suspenseful tale that introduces an indelible new detective and offers an evocative portrait of suburban life and tension with a universal reach. As it draws to its startling conclusion, D. A. Mishani’s twisting mystery will have readers questioning notions of innocence and guilt, and the nebulous nature of truth.

I was seriously blown away by this book.  The writing, the suspense, the foreshadowing…it was absolutely riveting.

I read a variety of books, and I occasionally read about crime/mysteries.  This one was different than any other book I have read before.

First, I loved the fact that it was set in Israel.  Like the main character says “there are no detective or mystery books written in Hebrew”.  I love learning about different part of the world and how they work in terms of crime, government and everyday life.  I learned so much about this part of the world, just from this book.

I appreciated the author’s use of foreshadowing.  He inserts a little nugget of information in your brain that might not be resolved for several chapters.  But that nugget stays in your brain while you are reading the build up to a resolution.

I liked how the story was told from dual perspectives.  How the same events were reconstructed by two people on seemingly opposite sides.

The ending is so simple, but the way it is written, is so unexpected.

The characters in this book are very well developed.  The reader feels a sort of kinship with the main character, Avi and a sense of revulsion at the secondary main character, Ze’ev.

I am a nurse, so I completely understand the feelings of guilt and the emotions produced when something goes wrong.  There is a sense of responsibility to the person involved.  There is a constant replay in the mind, what did I miss?  What could have been done differently to change the outcome?

The detective in this book, Avi, is extremely dedicated to his line of work.  This case deeply affects him, and I totally identify with that notion.

This is a five star book for me for so many reasons.  For the way it is written, very sharp and concise.  The way the detective methodically attempts to solve the crime.  The vivid descriptions of police work that goes along with a case of this nature.  The emotions evoked at several points in the book.

And I definitely loved the ending that leaves room for more to come. This is an excellent book, very highly recommended.

–AA

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