The Indian Sign

Les Roberts, Author
Les Roberts, Author Thomas Dunne Books $23.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-25217-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-312-27594-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-312-97646-0
Paperback - 271 pages - 978-1-59851-011-9
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Milan Jacovich is the kind of guy who insists on telling you about everything he puts in his mouth. Some of it is moderately interesting (where else could you learn that Winston cigarettes are ""the vice of choice of most Slovenians""?). But does knowing where the middle-aged Cleveland PI buys his steaks (""Mister Brisket on Taylor Road"") or chocolates for his date (""Mitchell Fine Candies on Lee Road"") or his fresh-baked bagels (""I don't buy the packaged ones"") really add anything but coy padding? These attempts at verisimilitude mostly get in the way of what could be two interesting storylines: Milan snoops (for money) on a toy-company accountant with a secret agenda while also searching (for free, out of guilt) for a kidnapped Native-American infant. The missing baby's great-grandfather squatted for two chilly February days on a bench across from Milan's house. Later, when the old man's body is fished out of the river, Milan regrets not having spoken to him. Investigating the accountant, Milan discovers that their mutual employer--a toy tycoon--is not only sleazy but positively lethal. In his 11th book about Milan, Roberts shows a strong social conscience on such subjects as poisonous toys and illegal adoptions. But he also overrates readers' interest in his hero's personal life. When a woman with whom Milan's had a loving relationship tells him she wants to just be friends, he says, ""Connie--did it ever occur to you that this isn't about you?"" Yeah, Milan--it has. Agent, Dominick Abel. (Aug.)
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