A Possibility of Violence: An Inspector Avraham Avraham Novel (Inspector Avraham 2) by D A Mishani and Todd Hasak-Lowy (Translator)
|A Possibility of Violence: An Inspector Avraham Avraham Novel (Inspector Avraham 2) by D A Mishani and Todd Hasak-Lowy (Translator)|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Tel Aviv Police Inspector Avraham Avraham investigates a fake bomb outside a nursery but uncovers so much more in this multi-accoladed novel. As intriguing as it is chilling and a great introduction to an excellent author and his excellent translator.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: January 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Someone leaves a bomb outside a children's nursery in Tel Aviv. This time it's a fake. Next time? Police Inspector Avraham Avraham wants to find the bomber before next time as then it may not be pretence. Meanwhile Chaim Sara has a special interest in the bomb as one of his two sons attends the nursery. But is that the only reason he's interested?
Dror A Mishani is an Israeli crime writer and literary scholar whose academic speciality is… wait for it… the history of crime fiction. Although we can safely assume he knows his stuff, assumptions aren't necessary when he proves it with novels like this and its accompanying accolades. A Possibility of Violence itself was (deep breath and here we go) short listed for the 2013 CWA International Dagger award and won the Martin Beck (best translated crime novel in Sweden) and the Israeli version of the Booker, not to mention Hebrew novel of the year. To cut a long review blurb short, this is knock your socks off good.
Dror's skill is evident from the beginning. We're drawn into the fictional Avi's (for short) life and then gradually sub-plots and new people are added at just the right pace to entice rather than confuse. In fact I didn't realise how much I'd missed an author who knows how to pace his character introduction till I read this. It was only part way through when I stopped and considered the layers that Dror had incorporated so casually and seamlessly that I realised the hidden complexity involved in the cracking story in which he immerses us.
Avi himself is haunted by past mistakes from his first outing, The Missing File (published in the UK in 2013). However this is tempered by his excitement surrounding the plans for his fiancée to join him in Israel at last. This gives Dror a chance to interweave some interesting quirks of Israeli law, giving us a great sense of place.
Avi isn't the only person waiting for a woman though. As the Sara family look forward to the return of a wife and mother from her native Philippines, theirs and Avi's paths will cross once the fake bomb is discovered.
This is also a sure sign of Dror's ingenuity; part way through we start making our own guesses and may even judge the story to be predictable. However, we can't put the book down as we're totally hooked and as for that perceived predictability… It may not be quite what you think after all as Dror second guesses our second guesses and ups the ante, gut wrenchingly.
Having said that, this isn't swear-laden or bloodily graphic; all the gut wrenching is generated by our own minds and extrapolations. I won't give anything away but as we become acquainted with the characters, we also see how they think. Our experience interprets their minds and that's where the gut wrenching starts. Also almost throwaway tiny details early on in the novel begin to make sense as we hurtle towards a heart-stopping climax told with a highly original (and totally un-off-putting) twist of chronological order and viewpoint.
Interestingly Dror believes that there's a scarcity of Israeli crime authors as the genre doesn't strike at the usual Israeli themes of patriotism and nation building. This may make him a big fish in a very small pool at home, but I have a feeling that he has proven he should be recognised as a global… global… even bigger big fish. If I'm not making myself clear, just read the book. Your imagination will thank you for it.
A big thank you to Quercus for providing us with a copy for review.
Further Reading: If you enjoy a cracking crime thriller, we also highly recommend Humber Boy B by Ruth Dugdall. If you'd like to explore Israeli fiction in other genres, we also recommend The People of Forever are not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu which was shortlisted for two awards and long-listed for a third.
The translator of this book, Todd Hasak-Lowry wrote Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
A Possibility of Violence: An Inspector Avraham Avraham Novel (Inspector Avraham 2) by D A Mishani and Todd Hasak-Lowy (Translator) is in the Top Ten Crime Novels of 2015.
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