Review: The Missing File by D.A. Mishani

Posted April 15, 2013 by in Book Reviews / 10 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher / TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Missing File by D.A. MishaniThe Missing File by D.A. Mishani
Published by Harper on March 19, 2013
Genres: Crime Fiction, Fiction, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher / TLC Book Tours

Goodreads | Amazon

Police detective Avraham Avraham knows that when a crime is committed in his quiet suburban Tel Aviv, there is little need for a complex investigation. There are no serial killers, kidnappings, or rapes here. It's usually the neighbor, the uncle, the father. The explanation, as he has learned, is always the simplest 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. Suddenly Avraham's ordered world is knocked off its well-oiled axis and his life consumed by perplexity.

The more he finds out about the boy and his circumstances, the further out of reach the truth seems to become. Avraham's best lead is Ofer's older neighbor and schoolteacher, Zeev Avni. He 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 before it's too late?

(from the back cover)

The Missing File is a good, solid crime fiction novel. Told from two perspectives–that of Detective Avraham, and that of Zeev Avni–it not only provides a good mystery; it’s also a good portrayal of suburban life, proving that lots of things about suburban living are universal.

I’m not sure that I like Detective Avraham, though. I don’t necessarily dislike him as a character, but he didn’t exactly win my heart over, either. He is portrayed as kind of incompetent concerning the case of Ofer’s disappearance, but he’s also described by one of his superiors as a “promising young detective,” and she obviously respects him as such. There is no good explanation provided for the difficulty Avraham faces as the lead detective in this case, and that makes his character a little disappointing. We haven’t seen the last of Avraham, though–The Missing File is only the first in what is to become an entire series featuring this detective–and I have hope for Avraham’s character. He still has potential, and I think he can be redeemed in future books. (Or maybe he’s intended to be an anti-hero of sorts, and he might grow on me in future books.)

Zeev Avni, on the other hand, is a very interesting character who I’m hoping to see more of in future books. I couldn’t quite get a handle on him, and I’d love to see how he develops.

My one semi-major complaint about the book (and it’s not something that should stop anyone from reading The Missing File) is the title. There’s no missing file in the story. Now, titles can have literal meanings, and they can have figurative meanings. If I take the title literally, there is no missing file. If I take the title as figurative, there might be an argument for a “missing file,” but it’s a stretch. I am one of those readers who always takes the title into account and connects it to the story at some point while I’m reading the book, so this was a little frustrating for me. I think a different title should have been chosen.

Overall, The Missing File is a good read. I was pretty sure I had the perpetrators of the crime picked correctly early on, but Mishani kept me second-guessing myself. And although I was right about Ofer’s disappearance (in a way), the development of the criminals’ apprehension kept the story interesting. I’d recommend it to readers that enjoy a good crime fiction novel, and I’ll be looking forward to reading more books in the series.

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  • I enjoyed this book as well, very much. I thought it was a solid mystery which was an easy read and kept my attention throughout.

    The title was not translated well, I agree.

  • A fine review. I should love to read it. Interesting about the title. That can be quite misleading

  • A lovely review. I’ve read a review that complained about the title too.

  • I also thought the title, The Missing File, was totally misleading. I’m assuming though (hoping, I guess) that the title was translated incorrectly. I thought Ze’ev was creepy, but I also think that Avraham wasn’t so enjoyable. I agree, I didn’t dislike him but I didn’t like him. Although, I wonder what Israelis would think of him because Israelis as a whole are super blunt, tougher people.

  • It is frustrating when a title is not right and you end up spending more time thinking about THAT than the story, sometimes. (by which I mean ME) I enjoy crime thrillers but I really only seem to read them when they literally fall into my hands. I get overwhelmed by how many titles I think I want to read and worrying about which I should read. if that makes any sense.

    • That makes total sense. And you’re right…I get hung up on (even the smallest) discrepancies in books sometimes, to the point of being completely distracted.

  • I’m glad that you’ll be looking for more from this author in spite of the minor issues you had with this book. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  • I really enjoyed this book ( but I do agree that the title needed re-working. It works in Hebrew but the double entendre loses all meaning in English.

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