The premise of this story is incredibly intriguing: a guy breaks into your home and steals things you won’t notice are missing, Like extra bottles of salad dressing, rolls of toilet paper, batteries, scoops of laundry detergent or sugar, drain cleaner.
With the first 100 pages or so I was mesmerized by Martin’s methods and attention to details. The lengths to which Martin goes to steal without getting caught are pretty crazy. Confession, if I may? It reminds me of a time as a kid when I used to fake taking a bath. I’d go into the bathroom, fill up the tub with water and for the 15 minutes or so that I was supposed to be bathing I’d sit on the toilet seat and read a book. To pull off my heist without any suspicion from my parents, I’d splash water on the towel so it’d be damp, wet the soap, wet the bath mat, etc. It would have been simpler to just take the bath. It’s the same here with Martin. It would be simpler for him to just live on honest life. If he can put that much planning and energy into stealing, imagine what he could do if he put those skills to use in honest work.
About a third of the way through, I hit a lull where the chapters seemed a little repetitive; more details about more “clients” and more methods of stealing. But what ultimately got me hooked again, and propelled the story, is Martin’s internal dialogue as he tries to balance his desire to continue stealing with his desire to help his clients with potential problems bigger than a few rolls of missing TP or scoops of Tide. Without giving too much away, it was interesting to observe the mental processes of a thief, who doesn’t think stealing things that people won’t miss is wrong, wrestle with trying to do “the right thing.”
The title “Something Missing” is a clever play on words. Yes, something is missing in these victim’s homes. But something is missing in Martin’s life that he fills with this career of silently taking. He feels as if he his clients are his friends, much like a stalker, which makes sense since he does, in fact, stalk his “clients” to gather intel about their comings and goings and habits to make it easier to unnoticeably break in and steal. Even calling them “clients” instead of victims shows Martin’s mind frame.
Loved the book. Highly recommend.