cover image A Detective’s Complaint

A Detective’s Complaint

Shimon Adaf, trans. from the Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan. Picador, $19 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-374-13965-0

In the moving and perceptive second volume of Adaf’s Lost Detective Trilogy (after One Mile and Two Days Before Sunset), retired Israeli sleuth Elish Ben Zaken is still insomniac, solitary, and guilt-ridden over his part in his father’s accidental death when he and his sister were children. Now Elish writes detective novels. When he’s briefly hospitalized for an acute hearing disorder, a fellow patient describes a niece’s brief disappearance and return, seemingly with no memory of her own absence or the passage of time, prompting Elish to call on his old friend, retired police detective Manny Lahav, to help him find some answers. Set during the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas in July and August of 2014, the action is punctuated by air raid sirens and scrambling to the “safe room.” Elish leaves Tel Aviv for a new subdivision in Sderot, to live near his sister Yaffa, her husband, children, and mother. His 12-year-old niece, Tahel, secretly reads his books, while Oshri, nine, escapes their wartime nightmare by reading fantasy novels. Adaf provides charming descriptions of scrappy, headstrong Tahel and dreamy Oshri as they aid Elish and Manny in the case. The author also has a keen ear for the cacophonous region, which Greenspan conveys in a flavorful translation. This series continues to delight. (Aug.)