Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book fifteen: Something Missing by Matthew Dicks.

Summer reading season is here and that means I'm on the lookout for books that are fast-paced, packed with fresh, quirky characters like none I've met before, and offer moments of madcap action adventure.  And more than anything, I want a book that's just fun to read but that still makes me appreciate the skills of the author. A book that delivers on all my summer reading dreams is Something Missing by Matthew Dicks.

Something Missing tells the story of Martin Railsback, a hyper-organized thief who "acquires" objects from his "clients" in a way that allows for repeat visits.  The genius of the character is that you can relate to the story, not because you imagine yourself a thief.  But because you can totally imagine being one of his clients.  In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I should be blaming all my absent mindedness on a Martin-like thief.  Just last night I said, "I could have sworn I bought some canned tomatoes a few weeks ago."  Maybe Martin paid me a visit and canned tomatoes were on his list.

A strange event sets Martin's life into chaos.  Never, in the history of literature, has the replacement of an electric toothbrush been so thrilling. so intense, so action packed.  I still can't stand in line behind someone rummaging through personal effects trying to find just the right change without getting nervous.  The adventure is a success.  And soon Martin has a new found confidence that he puts to good use.  He starts small, acting as a secret marriage counselor who helps a busy husband remember his wife.  Soon, he's saved a surprise birthday party and in process met a woman who just might like him.

Sure there are moments when it feels like Dicks loses faith in his readers with writing intent on reminding you of past details, just to make sure you "got it."  But, maybe that's just the author's way of building the obsessive personality of the main character.

I won't give away much more of the book except to say there's a scene involving a garage that gave me one of the best written scares I've read in a long time.  I also have to comment on the brilliance of the ending.  This is a book where I hated the author for ending where he did.  Yet I simultaneously praised the author for knowing the perfect place to stop the story.  Plus, it's an ending that raises plenty of moral questions to keep you thinking. This book is well worth the read.


  1. I really enjoyed this book. The story was so fresh. I love books that you can enjoy on an entertainment and literary level.

  2. So happy to hear you enjoyed the book! Thanks so much for taking the time to review!

    - Matthew Dicks