The Best Kept Secret

Les Roberts, Author
Les Roberts, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-20499-0
Reviewed on: 06/28/1999
Release date: 07/01/1999
Paperback - 265 pages - 978-1-59851-010-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-312-97126-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58807-043-2
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Signs plastered around Cleveland's Sherman College campus identify Jason Crowell as a rapist. They don't bother to identify his victim. Poor Jason is reviled, suspended from classes and desperate. His best friend is convinced of his innocence, but his belligerent father is less sure. Soon Cleveland's own Slovenian-American PI, Milan Jacovich (The Cleveland Local, etc.), joins Jason's select circle of supporters as he tries to clear the young man's name. Milan's job isn't made any easier by the discovery of heroin in Jason's bathroom, or by the sudden death of a college adviser. Is the frameup about sex or about drugs? Is it even a frame? The best-kept secret turns out to be that Jason is gay--a fact that Milan is much more willing to accept and understand than is the boy's father. Despite Roberts's enlightened intentions, he seldom manages to get beyond the roughest of stereotypes. His feminists are strident, his academics are smug and the relentlessly ethnic Milan is always moral, even when defending an accused rapist might just lose him the affections of Connie, his newest lady friend. This is a story driven more by Milan's gruff voice than by any plot surprises or psychological exploration. (Aug.)
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