Author: Les Roberts
Length: 278 pages
Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: The Indianapolis Public Library
Plot Basics: Cleveland PI Milan Jacovich is asked to look into an elderly Serbian man’s disappearance. And meanwhile, his Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter friend Ed Stahl is receiving threatening phone calls about the content of his columns. Milan’s investigations into both rile up Cleveland’s wise guys and show that old family secrets about immigration and life in Eastern Europe during WWII aren’t as far away as they seem.
Banter Points: Of the early Milan Jacovich books, this one is by far the best. Roberts has mastered the noir detective’s voice, delivering both a taut plot and the emotional jabs that lend a resounding truth to the character and setting. Jacovich is sucked into this case at a request from his ex-wife’s second husband, a fact that rankles Milan, but once involved, he can’t let the case go. Nor can Milan let his friend put himself in danger through his writing. Filled with history about the Serbian and Slovenian immigrants to NE Ohio and a keen eye for the Cleveland of the early 1990s, The Cleveland Connection is a well-rounded read with surprising twists.
Bummer Points: It’s not a very happy story. Even at the end, when things are solved, it’s still a grim book.
Word Nerd Recommendation: The Milan Jackovich series, to me, is a sleeper hit among mystery books. Roberts started writing in the late 80s and is still going… There are 17 books in the series, the newest one released in June 2013. If you like Spenser or Bosch, you should read these because it’s a blend of the best of both of them.