Translated from the Hebrew by Steven Cohen
There's an old saying: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." It is a fitting almost reverse description of the author of this debut novel. He is a literary scholar and editor of international fiction and crime literature at Keter Books in Israel, specializing in the history of detective literature. So he is something of an anomaly. He has created a new protagonist, Israeli detective Avraham("Avi") Avraham, an introspective character who, while being a policeman, is unsure of himself when he is away from his duties.
In this case, he is confronted by the mother of a 16-year-old boy who is said to have left home one morning for school and disappearing. As Avi investigates what should be a simple missing person inquiry, it spirals out of control and takes over his life, ultimately becoming
complicated by a neighbor who inserts himself into the investigation with what may be false information.
Aside from the fact that the novel is set in Israel, where crime is a rarity, it could just as easily be a tale told elsewhere. Avi is a memorable protagonist, and the plot is well thought out. He is bruited about as the preeminent Israeli detective of the 21st Century. The translation is smooth, and the twist at the end is so unexpected that it is worthy of a more seasoned novelist. And we look forward to the sequel, A Possibility of Violence, due out from Harper this summer. Recommended.
Reviewer: Ted Feit