A teenage boy fails to come home from school, but Tel Aviv-based police investigator Avraham Avraham isn’t inspired to take immediate action. He’s convinced the boy will show up before morning. He does not. The case is officially opened and escalates rapidly, in no small part because one of the boy’s neighbors throws truly bizarre wrenches into the search, thus further confusing the police. It is not easy to grasp if this man is a kidnapper, a murderer, or only a bored English teacher who is seeking excitement.
After reaching the conclusion of a frustrating series of dead ends, Avraham has no choice but to leave for a long planned six day police exchange program in Brussels. He finds his Belgian colleagues involved in their own complex case, with little time for their Israeli visitor, who finds himself at loose ends and unable to keep his finger on the pulse of the investigation he left behind. When he finally returns home, the investigation moves forward in disappointing, seemingly endless fits and starts. Eventually, the case is wrapped up, reaching a truly unexpected conclusion.
The Missing File is the first novel in a new series by an Israeli editor of international fiction and crime literature. Perhaps it was spending his days reading manuscripts that helped him to avoid the pitfall of relying on commonly utilized formulas, for this is far from a predictable tale. Unlike the usual police procedural, the process is messy. There are no chase scenes, no blood pounding climax. The reader eavesdrops on characters who feel like real people who don’t always maintain control over their own emotions and actions and are left having to cope with the consequences. Avraham Avraham is a complex and compelling antihero and I look forward to his continuing adventures.