Sunday, July 6, 2014

Literary Scholar of Detective Lit, D. A. Mishani, Introduces New Series...and Avraham Avraham...

An image froze in his mind. He didn't know
exactly what the boy looked life, but he could
see Ofer Sharabi placing his black bad on a
bench in a dimly lit, deserted public park
and lying down on his back. He's covering
his body with a gray sweatshirt--like the one
on the girl at the bus stop. He's getting ready
to go to sleep. There's not a soul there aside
from Ofer. And that's good. He's not in
any danger...
Avraham Avraham is such an important character in Mishani's new series that I wanted to try to picture him through somebody who plays a similar role...I thought of David Boreanaz in his character on Bones... I think the personality Boreanaz plays as Seely Booth is the closest I could come in trying to share a little about our new character in a series.
Pressing his palm down on
the metal door handle to
Ilana's office was one of those
moments in his work that
Avraham lived for. One
moment he'd be at Tel Aviv
Headquarters, and an
instant later, when the
door closed behind him,
he'd be entirely somewhere
else--at home...

I see Avi as sensitive, introspective, dedicated to his job, protector of the innocent. He has very strong opinions, based upon his personal gut feelings as opposed to evaluation of the overall case and this leads him sometimes  wrong.., maybe... He is able to work well with women and is even to some extent needy to have a female support him in his professional development. I'm not quite sure of the power of his role yet...he has a female who seems to be both mentor and supervisor and there seems to be an underlying personal connection, whether of friendship or more, I think, has to be discovered in the future. However, his supervisor has years of experience and guides, but does little in actually solving the case.  He seems to depend on himself for mostly handling all details of cases, perhaps getting lost from the bigger picture, even though he might be assigned the lead for the case...

The Missing File

By. D. A. Mishani

Another fifteen minutes
or so went by with them
sitting there like that, in his
small room, face-to-face...
Let's go over the main
things again.
Across the desk from him sat a mother. Another mother. She was the third he had seen this shift... All his recent shifts were made up of similar complaints. A week earlier a woman had complained that her mother-in-law had put a curse on her. He was sure that the duty officers at this station were out there stopping people in the street and asking them to come in and file ludicrous reports to make fun of him. He wasn't aware of such complaints being filed on the shifts of the other investigators.
It was 6:10 p.m., and if there had been a window in Inspector Avraham Avraham's office he would have seen that it was starting to get dark outside. He had already decided what to pick up for dinner on the way home, and what to watch on the television while he ate. But first, he had to ease the concerns of the third mother. He stared at the computer screen, waiting for the right moment...
The problem is that if I decide now that your son is missing and that the case requires immediate attention, I am obliged to send out officers to begin looking for him right away. Those are the procedures. And I can tell you from experience that there is a chance we will find him in a situation in which you wouldn't like us to find him. What do I do if he found with a joint in his hand? I won't have much choice, and will have to open a criminal report... He fixed his gaze on her, trying to access the impression his little speech had made. She appeared lost. She wasn't used to making decisions--or insisting. "I don't know if something happened to him," she said. "It's not like him to disappear like this."
And so Avi sent the third mother home to come back the next day... Mrs. Sharibi brought several pictures of Ofer and had also brought his cell phone which she had earlier told him was found in his room--he hadn't taken it with him...

And so routine police procedures began...

Avi and a female junior officer began interviewing neighbors of the Sharibi family. Ze'ev and his wife had just had their first child, who was not yet a year old. it was the same evening when the police had arrived at their building which surprised Ze'ev, even though he had figured they would be interview them. When Avi suggested they split up for the interviews and he took the wife into the kitchen and the junior officer and Ze'ev stayed in the front room, again Ze'ev was surprised--perhaps disturbed that the main officer would not choose to talk to him first...

That was not the last time that Avi met Ze'ev either. In fact, although he didn't see him every time, Ze'ev was keeping close track of the investigation and, in particular, Avi... It didn't take an long to have Avi pinpoint Ze'ev as a "person of Interest..."

Ze'ev knew why the police cars
were there the moment he saw
them parked outside the building.
It was a gut feeling, a sharp
searing of his conscience, from
deep within. He knew, too,
that he was ready, but didn't
know for what just yet.

Who's playing Ze'ev?!!!

But was he involved with Ofer missing? In the meantime, a tip had come in anonymously about Ofer having been spotted...but the caller had referred to him as "body..." A small search was organized and Avi again found that Ze'ev had come to join the search...

The sequel to this novel will be out soon and my review follows this one. I must admit that I'm holding on my opinion of Avi. He is definitely not the macho type that we might see as the primary investigator...  In some ways, he reminds me of Alex Delaware, main character in the series I loved by Jonathan Kellerman. Alex had a sidekick and I'm thinking that is what might improve Avi's story since he's usually looking around for somebody with whom he can talk over the case... That seems to be no longer Ilana when she brings in a younger, much more aggressive detective to work the case with him.

He does make touch with a female officer when he flies to Brussels for an officer exchange program...A possible love interest to come in the next book? 

While I hold out my personal opinion of Avi, there is no doubt that my primary attraction for the novel is Mishani's outstanding writing. I found myself too sympathetic toward Avi, because on the one hand, he appears to lack the ability to take an overall assessment on his cases. On the other hand, he becomes driven when he senses that somebody is lying to him and, with sufficient but incomplete evidence, he makes a firm plan of action for a particular individual, even if he is wrong.

Mishani specialized in the history of detective fiction and has a routine story he throws into Avi's interviews--but his colleagues don't appreciate it at all! In essence, he talks about the lack of crime in Tel Aviv and thus lack of crime fiction... This is one reader, though, who can't quite decide whether the author's writing is enough to keep readers interested when we have less than complete faith in the main character's ability to do his job... Watch for my review of the sequel! At this point, I think you should try at least one of his books just to have the experience of reading a "Literary scholar specializing in the history of detective literature" and check out how he has put his expertise to use in his Debut fiction series! I believe readers will clearly see how it has resulted in the way he's writing his own fiction now...


Dror A. Mishani (born in 1975) is an Israeli crime writer, translator and literary scholar, specializing in the history of detective fiction. His detective series, featuring police inspector Avraham Avraham, was first published in Hebrew in 2011 and is translated to many languages. The first novel in the series, “The Missing File”, was shortlisted for the 2013 CWA international dagger award and won the Martin Beck award, for the best translated crime novel in Sweden.

Dror lives with his wife and two children in Tel Aviv.

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