The Cleveland Connection: A Milan Jacovich Mystery

Les Roberts, Author
Les Roberts, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (294p) ISBN 978-0-312-08746-3
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-1-59851-004-1
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The prolific Roberts's fourth mystery (after Deep Shaker ) starring Cleveland-based Slovene ex-cop Milan Jacovich is his most ambitious work thus far. Here, global politics and wartime atrocities figure in the death of an old Serb, Bogdan Zdrale. Hired by Zdrale's good-looking, worried granddaughter, Milan combs Cleveland's ethnic enclaves for the missing retired factory worker with a fondness for taverns, coffee and conversation. Soon Zdrale's body turns up in a remote spot, but the execution-style killing and the appearance of a hired gun from New York prompts Milan to dig deeper. Longer than most of Roberts's books, this novel also incorporates more extensive subplots, including the print war waged by Milan's reporter buddy on local crime lords and the PI's unhurried coming-to-terms with fatherhood, divorce and loneliness. The central narrative, stretching back to WW II concentration camps, is grounded in a potent plot, as Roberts skillfully juggles readers' expectations. On the debit side is his overpromotion of Cleveland and his introduction of incest, current crime fiction's most overused plot device. While Roberts' best work may remain his debut, An Infinite Number of Monkeys, this latest is a brave, satisfying story. (Feb.)
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