Original Title: תיק נעדר
English Title: The Missing File
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 is 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?
(I listened to the German audiobook)
The book opens with a worried mother coming to Avraham because her son went missing. He calms her down by telling her that in Israel there are no crime novels like those of Agatha Christie because there are no really complicated crimes. Israel has no serial killers or rapists. If a crime was committed it was usually a relative or a neighbor, but more often there's no crime at all and her son will probably be back soon.
Let me go through all the things wrong with this statement.
One: There are no crime novels in Israel.
How about Batya Gur? Shulamit Lapid? Uri Adelman? All prize-winning authors but nope. There are totally no Israeli crime novels. The author knows this because that one time he passed through the crime section of the bookstore, thinking about how much he hates the genre, he didn't notice any.
Two: You go for 'serial killers and rapists' and then use Agatha Christie as an example?
Like...have you even read the Wikipedia article on her (or crime novels in general)? Or did you once watch an episode of Law & Order, concluded that crime-fiction in any form/medium is shit and you can do better? If you wanted to go for the 'dark and gritty realism' direction you could, at least, have said Henning Mankell. Believe me, people will have heard of him. Not only crime-readers. (Of course I rather re-read The White Lioness which for me is the shittiest Mankell-novel than touch another book by Mishani with a ten foot pole...but that's another issue).
Three: It usually was a relative or a neighbor. Everywhere. Israel is not the special snowflake. Murders are mostly committed for stupid reasons by...not very bright people who are then caught quickly. If the crime literature of any country would accurately represent the actual crimes committed in this country we had fewer books about murderers who left rare jazz recordings in their victim's CD players and more short-stories in which the police just followed the bloody footsteps at the crime scene and then knocked at the door of the house they led to.
However, crime literature would be a lot less interesting then, so get off your high horse.
That was the first chapter. I should have just quit then because it did not get better. It always felt like I'm reading a crime novel by an author who really hates crime novels. At one point Avraham explains that his hobby is reading crime novels/watching crime dramas and explaining how wrong the investigator in it is. Not in the 'you would have to face consequences after using your service weapon like this' or the 'you're ruining the crime scene' way (which is something some other fictional detectives do occasionally and which is honestly also bloody annoying). No, he thinks most of the time detectives from books and TV arrest the wrong person because...because they are stupid and Avraham's shining intelligence eclipses them all? Because reasons? Whatever.
Yeah. Way to shit on an entire genre. Well done.
Avraham's shining intelligence btw makes him convinced that he just has to ask the boy's mother the right question (he doesn't know yet) and then she will give him an answer and everything will be immediately totally clear to him.
That is how real police work works. No this is not a trope only found in shitty crime fiction. We are above this despicable genre, don't you know?
Also Avraham barely does any investigating. He mostly sulks that his colleagues, who do actually do some work find out things. Like the fact that the missing boy's sister has Down Syndrome and then he wonders why the parents always talked about her like she was 'a normal child'. I kid you not.
DNF at ~60%