The Irish Sports Pages
A Milan Jacovich Mystery
By Les Roberts
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312286613, 304pp.)
Publication Date: August 1, 2002
List Price: $23.95*
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Milan Jacovich, Cleveland's private eye extraordinaire, gets the usual PI's run of cases -- checking on insurance claims, looking for missing persons, validating a job applicant's credentials. But now and again, along comes the unusual case -- one that is really out of Milan's sphere, but which he takes on from a sense of justice, for personal reasons, and even if the client can't afford to pay.
There's nothing pro bono about Milan's current case. His client is a woman of status and wealth. But it is definitely on the personal side. It seems that Judge Maureen Hartigan has a serious problem that she wants to kept quiet. And since her daughter Cathleen and Milan have had an off-again-on-again friendship, which only teeters on the edge of something more, she asks Cathleen to call him. Judge Hartigan, a woman of impeccable reputation, has unwittingly given refuge to a scam artist. Through her, Cathleen had become involved with the man, and all because Cathleen's cousin Hugh had been a sucker. It happened in a familiar way: The man came into an Irish bar, made a beeline for Hugh, who was drinking alone and a little in his cups, told him that he was just off the plane from Ireland, and that his luggage, containing not only his clothes but his passport and wallet, was lost; he had no clean clothes, no money, no identification, no credit cards. Could Hugh help him until the luggage was found? A fellow Irishman, thought Hugh, even to one a couple of generations removed from the Auld Sod? Sure.
Judge Hartigan didn't expect to recover the money this "Brian McFall" had stolen. She wanted revenge. It was Milan's job to find the man. Then he was saved the trouble when McFall turned up shot to death. The missing-person case became a homicide, one that Lieutenant McHargue, Milan's nemesis, warned him to keep out of. Milan didn't heed the warning.. He wanted to finish what he started, he wanted to help Cathleen and her mother. What he did not want was to become the target of a killer. But in Milan's business, you can't have everything, now can you?
Readers, however, will get what they want: an engaging, thrill-packed story with a number of characters they would like to meet -- and a few they wouldn't.
Les Roberts, a native Chicagoan, lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He moved there from Hollywood, where, among other things, he was the producer of Hollywood Squares. Past president of the Private Eye Writers of America, Roberts won the initial St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye novel contest in 1986.