Something Missing, by Matthew Dicks

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This book was a hoot!

Something Missing is the story of a professional cat burglar. He has been stealing for years from the same “clients” and never been suspected, let alone caught, thanks to his obsessive attention to detail. However, there is “something missing” from his own life as well: friendship & love. He is extremely shy and socially awkward, and of course he can’t talk about his work. As you might guess, this book is about what happens when unforeseen contingencies arise. One thing leads to another: Martin finds himself intervening in his clients’ lives, confronting his own demons, falling in love, and being a hero.

A big part of the charm of this book is the descriptions of Martin at work, and the rules for success that he has developed over the years. They are so detailed and sensible that you might even come away tempted to try burglary yourself. For example:

Certain items could be taken from a home without anyone ever noticing, particularly if one is familiar enough with the homeowner’s inventory to determine how long an item has been in stock. A bottle of Liquid Plumbr, for example, should never be taken during its first month on the shelf, because the homeowner has likely purchased it for a specific reason. A kitchen sink is slow to drain. The bathtub is filling with water during a shower. In these instances, a missing bottle of Liquid Plumbr, which isn’t cheap, might be noticed. But after thirty days, it’s safe to assume that the homeowner has solved whatever plumbing problem from which he or she might have been suffering, and then the bottle can easily vanish without a trace.

(Honestly, it makes you wonder about the author. Did Matthew Dicks just make this all up? Or is he writing from personal experience?)

Anyway, the burglary stuff is hilarious and fun to read. But the author also does a great job with the other aspects of the book. Martin’s personality is consistent. His growth is gradual and believable. The plot is tightly constructed. The prose is matter-of-fact, clean, and unobtrusive. The romance is sweet but not too sweet. It’s a light read with a happy ending, but it also makes you think.

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