March 2024
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Review: Something Missing, Matthew Dicks

Martin is a thief, but he isn’t an ordinary thief. He meticulously studies his victims – who he calls clients – before he steals from them, to ensure that they don’t have any danger factors and that he won’t get caught by a dog or a child home sick from school. He starts to feel that he knows his clients based on the items he takes from them – from one, he’ll steal some laundry detergent and a packet of nearly expired tomatoes, while from another he’ll nab toothpaste or a box of pasta. His big operations take months of planning and he does his best to take things that his clients won’t miss for long periods of time. But when he gets trapped in one of his clients’ homes and starts to believe he can help them, Martin finds that his life of crime may turn into an attempt to be a guardian angel for his clients.

This was a startlingly original and often delightful read. Who could imagine that a thief could be so lovable? It helps that he hardly ever steals anything actually worth money, and when he does he takes extra effort to ensure its owners will never miss it. Instead, he seems to consider his clients as friends. He’s a peculiar character to start; he’s obsessed with mapping out houses and following his routines. He thinks he’s gone on dates with a woman at the local diner when she’s just being friendly, and has a single friend to his name. He works at a coffee shop and tells the people that he knows that he writes technical manuals rather than divulging his real career. He seems as though he might have happily gone along continuing to steal from his clients for years, until he realizes that maybe he can use his intimate knowledge of them for good rather than for his own personal gain.

In some respects, I think making it so easy to relate to him trivializes the fact that he is actually stealing, but this is a minor note and is completely contradicted by the good he actually ends up doing. Since we spend over 100 pages following him on his travels, we get a really good idea of what he actually steals and how he goes about doing it. Still, somehow, we appreciate and start to like him even as he describes his meticulous process of removing fingerprints and approaching houses from a variety of methods. It’s after we’ve known him that the book takes off – things start to go wrong and Martin has to cope with not only dangers but unfamiliar environments he isn’t prepared for. I didn’t feel anxious for his clients as he investigated, I felt anxious for him.

Something Missing completely delivers on its unusual premise with a fantastic main character as well as an intense and addicting storyline. This sweet read is highly recommended.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free for review from the publisher.


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