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Something Missing

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A career criminal with OCD tendencies and a savant-like genius for bringing order to his crime scenes, Martin considers himself one of the best in the biz. After all, he’s been able to steal from the same people for years on end—virtually undetected. Of course, this could also be attributed to his unique business model—he takes only items that will go unnoticed by the homeowner. After all, who in their right mind would miss a roll of toilet paper here, a half-used bottle of maple syrup there, or even a rarely used piece of china buried deep within a dusty cabinet?
Even though he's never met these homeowners, he's spent hours in their houses, looking through their photo albums and reading their journals. In essence, Martin has developed a friendship of sorts with them and as such, he decides to interfere more in their lives—playing the part of a rather odd guardian angel—even though it means breaking many of his twitchy neurotic rules.
Along the way Martin not only improves the lives of others, but he also discovers love and finds that his own life is much better lived on the edge (at least some of the time) in this hilarious, suspenseful and often profound novel about a man used to planning every second of his life, suddenly forced to confront chaos and spontaneity.    

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

May 25, 2009 – An expert thief unexpectedly finds himself aiding his victims in Dicks's charming if rambling debut. During his hours off, barista Martin Railsback burgles the houses of folks he calls his “clients,” taking only what they won't notice is missing: for instance, “three boxes of long grain rice... two rolls of toilet paper (in Martin's estimation, the Gallos had excellent taste in toilet paper), three cups of olive oil” and, on occasion, something really valuable. The system works beautifully until the day Martin drops a client's toothbrush into the toilet and feels compelled to replace it. This act of simple decency sets him on an entirely different course, and pretty soon he's breaking into houses to improve the lives of their occupants. Martin's own life starts looking up, too, with the possibility of romance and a new avocation, but the specter of real peril looms. Dicks struggles with digression and repetition—Martin's obsessive allegiance to the rules of his pastime becomes exasperating—but he's created a winning hero in Martin, a crook with a heart of gold.

Customer Reviews

Great Read!!!

The only problem with this wonderful, delightful book is, I want more!!

100 Words or Less

The problem with this novel is the overall blandness of the main character, the descriptions, the plot … well, everything.

Once I get past the unique “hook” of the novel, nothing in the writing makes me care what happens. Even in the “exciting” moments, the descriptions are so methodical and organized and flat. It’s like the energy has been drained from the prose.

Maybe that’s deliberate? But it’s not written in first person, so maybe it’s just over thinking an otherwise interesting idea. In the end, I quit halfway through because nothing was drawing me back to the story.


I really wanted to love this book. Based on the description, I was looking forward to a unique storyline laced with humor. The characters were quite boring and forgetable. The story didn’t pull you in and the story just dragged on.

Something Missing
View in iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jul 14, 2009
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 306 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings