A well-meaning parent suggested that if I really wanted to learn about Cleveland, I should read Les Roberts’ mysteries. So I picked this one, pretty much randomly. It’s clear that Roberts (actually born in Chicago) has a great deal of affection for and knowledge about Cleveland. He knows the bars, back roads, and burger joints. What he doesn’t know is how to write.

At one point, he offers us the stunning insight that a son (the first murder victim) never got a hug from either of his two fathers.  Milan Jacovich, the protagonist, laments that he does not get to spend enough time with his sons (though he barely mentions them throughout the book).  And he actually compares  Jacovich’s  insight that leads him to solve the case to a lightning bolt. It’s not a lightning bolt, Les, it’s a deus ex machina, and it’s bad plotting.

So, there you go, I’ve tried one. I won’t do that again.

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