#1 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Introducing Milan Jacovich (pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich), Cleveland’s favorite private eye.
Milan, an ex-cop, Vietnam veteran, and former football player, is a private investigator with a master’s degree, a taste for klobasa sandwiches and Stroh’s beer, and a knack for finding trouble.
Milan gets a cryptic late-night phone call from high-powered advertising executive Richard Amber, who wants to pay him a thousand dollars for twelve hours of bodyguard service. But when Milan gets to the Amber house in the elegant suburb of Pepper Pike, no one is home. The next morning, Amber’s beautiful but brittle wife hires Milan to find her husband, who, it seems, has disappeared.
The search will lead Milan through the haunts of the very rich, including an exclusive country club where the Slovenian American sleuth almost loses his life, and onto some of Cleveland’s meanest streets. He’ll meet Cleveland mob kingpin Don Giancarlo D’Allessandro and his sophisticated but deadly nephew Victor Gaimari, and even cross paths with the governor of Ohio.
#2 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Polyester leisure suit, white patent leather shoes, matching white belt—that 1970s fashion statement was once unkindly dubbed the "full Cleveland." And no one wears it with more flair and panache than Buddy Bustamente.
Buddy ("he was medium-sized if you happened to be talking about Cape buffaloes") is the hulking flunky assigned by mob kingpin Victor Gaimari to shadow Cleveland private eye Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich).
Milan has been hired to find the perpetrator of a low-level scam who is selling local businessmen ads in a magazine that doesn’t exist. But the modest amount of money involved hardly seems worth the string of bodies he soon turns up. And why does it interest a mobster like Victor and his sugar-addict bird dog, Buddy?
Milan starts liking Buddy in spite of himself. But he’s not easily fooled; Buddy is a recent ex-con, and Milan knows that behind the childlike faade and dubious fashion, he is potentially lethal.
#3 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
No one is as loyal to old friends as Cleveland private investigator Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich). So when a grade school chum worries his son Paulie might be selling drugs, Milan has no choice but to help.
Milan turn up Paulie’s connection, a handsome Jamaican named Deshon who pals around with two baseball-bat wielding thugs and a German shepherd dog who looks like he’s all business.
The narcotics business makes curious bedfellows, as Milan discovers during his investigation of a particularly brutal murder; he butts heads with a wily realtor named Christmas, a flamboyant automobile dealer with lofty political ambitions, an edgy street pusher, and his old friends from the Little Italy mob, Don Giancarlo D’Allessandro and Victor Gaimari.
Milan also encounters a drug gang unparalleled in their savagery, and unearths a relic from every Clevelander’s childhood that proves to be deadly.
The Cleveland Connection
#4 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Private investigator Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich) is Slovenian-American, but he’s familiar with the varied ethnic groups that make up the city of Cleveland. An elderly Serbian man has gone missing, and when his granddaughter suspects foul play, Milan agrees to take up the search.
In the meantime, Milan’s good friend, Plain Dealer reporter Ed Stahl, has written a column critical of the gangster element on Cleveland’s Murray Hill, and is now being threatened and harassed, which brings Milan into direct conflict with a millionaire garbage hauler and an out-of-town muscle punk named Nello Trinetti.
The Serbs and the Slovenians traditionally don’t get along too well, but Milan makes inroads into Cleveland’s Serbian community after a shocking murder, eventually coming face-to-face with its unofficial mayor, Lazo Samarzic, an angry and militant man who runs a produce stand in the historic old West Side Market.
Hatreds that have simmered for fifty years eventually explode as Milan Jacovich takes on one of his most challenging cases.
The Lake Effect
#5 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Every Clevelander understands the lake effect, a weather condition that brings plenty of snow, especially in November when election time rolls around.
Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich), the genial Cleveland private eye, has never been a political animal. But he owes a favor to mobster Victor Gaimari, and Milan always pays his debts. So he agrees to play watchdog over a mayoral election in suburban Lake Erie Shores in which dowdy housewife Barbara Corns is challenging incumbent Gayton True.
Everything seems calm on the surface—until True’s wife, Princess, is run down in the street just outside downtown Cleveland’s Tower City. It becomes obvious that there is more at stake than the mayor’s chair in a quiet suburban city hall. And when he discovers that the True campaign has employed his old nemesis, disgraced ex-cop Al Drago, who carries a grudge a mile wide, Milan knows he’s in for a lot rougher time of it than simply poll-watching.
The Duke of Cleveland
#6 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
"The wonderful thing about art is that it doesn’t really have to do anything . . . All that is asked of it is that it be beautiful. It doesn’t work that way with people."
So begins a sortie by Cleveland private investigator Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich) into the cutthroat world of fine art. A slumming young heiress, April Delavan, hires Milan to find her most recent boyfriend, a potter who has absconded with $18,000 of her trust fund money.
But it doesn’t figure that his disappearance would pique the interest of someone like Victor Gaimari, the elegant and affable mob figure with whom straight arrow Milan seems to be developing a love-hate relationship.
Milan soon learns that the former boyfriend may have made a few other enemies, and suddenly, fine art starts looking a little rough around the edges. It turns out truth and beauty don’t always mix well—at least in the art business.
#7 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Private investigator Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich) goes behind the scenes to uncover scandal, ambition, and intrigue at one of Cleveland’s top TV stations as he hunts down the stalker and murderer of a beautiful local television anchor.
Milan has just moved his offices to an old building on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in an area called the Flats. There, he receives a surprise visit from a former love interest, Mary Soderberg, who left him for her influential boss, TV executive Steve Cirini. One of their newscasters, the beautiful Virginia Carville, has been murdered, and Cirini, who was having an affair with her, is the chief suspect. Mary wants Milan to bail her cheating boyfriend out of the jam—for old times’ sake.
Milan doesn’t like Cirini at all, but takes the case even though he’s unsure of the man’s innocence. Or is the culprit the obsessive station-manager Nicky Scandalios, the longtime anchorwoman Vivian Truscott, or a survivor of child abuse named Violet Grba? For that matter, could it be Milan’s old flame Mary Soderberg herself?
The Cleveland Local
#8 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Hotshot young Cleveland lawyer Joel Kerner is shotgunned to death on a lonely beach on the Caribbean island of San Carlos. The local police are inept, and the Cleveland cops can’t operate outside their jurisdiction, so Kerner’s sister Patrice comes to private eye Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich) to discover the truth about her brother’s murder.
Milan flies to San Carlos to investigate—a pleasant three-day working vacation that doesn’t keep him from getting stabbed in an alley and rousted by a high-level international cop.
Back in Cleveland, he asks his best friend, homicide lieutenant Marko Meglich, for some unofficial help. But he runs up against Kerner’s angry father, a world-famous labor attorney, along with the bevy of beautiful women Joel Kerner left behind and a powerful union leader known around town as "The Irish."
Milan marches forward to solve the case, though it will eventually cause him a tragic and insupportable personal loss.
A Shoot in Cleveland
#9 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Hollywood producer Sidney Friedman has chosen Cleveland as the location for his new hope-to-be-blockbuster film, Street Games.
The "shoot" is just getting underway, and the film’s star is the movie industry’s most notorious bad boy, Darren Anderson. Friedman hires Cleveland private investigator Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich) to watch over the unruly young actor and keep him out of trouble. Milan, still suffering from the tragic loss of his friend, has no interest in moviemaking but signs on just to keep himself from going crazy brooding.
Keeping Darren Anderson out of trouble is like keeping your hat dry during a downpour. He’s too rich, too famous, too good-looking, and too young to handle it responsibly. When he’s accused of seducing the fifteen-year-old daughter of a local furniture mogul, Milan gets disgusted and quits the job.
But murder isn’t far behind—and suddenly Milan is elbow-deep in all sorts of things that have nothing to do with a Saturday afternoon at the movies.
The Best-Kept Secret
#10 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Everyone has secrets. But college freshman Jason Crowell is especially guarded when an anonymous feminist organization on campus publicly accuses him of date rape. Jason proclaims his innocence but has no idea who the "Women Warriors" are—or even who his supposed victim is.
Jason’s former high school principal, Reginald Parker, believes in the kid. He asks private investigator Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovitch) to uncover the identities of the secret accusers. Milan would prefer to steer clear of this unpleasant case, but Reggie Parker once saved his life (see Deep Shaker), so Milan agrees to investigate. What he finds surprises him—and eventually leads to murder.
Milan tangles with Jason’s rigid and unfeeling parents, a mean-spirited campus police chief, and an extremely dangerous gang of youths that wants him dead. He quickly finds himself in more trouble than he ever imagined.
The Indian Sign
#11 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Veteran private eye Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovitch) is rarely surprised. But his attention is grabbed one day by a Native American man wearing traditional clothing and waist-length, iron gray braids, sitting across the street from his suburban Cleveland apartment for twelve hours in a driving snowstorm.
When the old man is found murdered and floating in the river the very next day, Milan feels the unsettling urge to do something about it.
He’s already working on another case—a simple one, he thinks. The CEO of a local toy company has hired him for a background check on his new accountant, David Ream. Milan quickly learns Ream is not at all what he seems to be, and the case gets very messy, very fast.
Dancing dangerously between the two cases, Milan runs into more murder and a suspense-filled finish including a shoot-out in the fountain plaza at downtown Tower City.
#12 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
In street parlance, "the dutch" is another expression for suicide. That’s what everyone assumes happened to Ellen Carnine when her broken body is found 150 feet below the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge in downtown Cleveland. A terse, sad suicide note has been left on the screen of her home computer.
But her grieving father asks private eye Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovitch) to figure out why a bright and successful, dot-com executive like Ellen took her own life. Milan is introduced to a different reality by Ellen’s four best female friends, an old lover, her employers, and some of the lowlifes from Cleveland’s meanest streets.
The search for the truth leads Milan into the unfamiliar territory of Internet chat rooms, where he learns a great deal about the faceless people who live part of their lives behind a screen, becoming best friends—or bitter enemies—without actually meeting.
Milan pushes too far—and uncovers the most brutal and heinous crime he’s ever faced.
The Irish Sports Pages
#13 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
A slick con man, posing as a recent immigrant from County Mayo all alone in America, is preying on the clannish loyalties of the Irish community in Cleveland for gifts, money, and other less tangible treats. When Common Pleas Judge Maureen Hartigan realizes she’s been bamboozled, she and her daughter, Cathleen, hire private eye Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovitch) to chase down the swindler.
But the con man turns up dead in a skanky motel room, and Milan finds himself tangled in the world of the local Irish godfather, Con McCardle, who is connected with the IRA.
Milan also finds himself once again face-to-face with Cathleen Hartigan, an old flame that never quite kindled. Their own feelings clash with the more urgent need to solve a murder.
Milan learns a lot about Irish customs and cultures—including "the Irish sports pages."
King of the Holly Hop
#14 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
Going to your high school reunion is never fun. But this time, it’s murder.
When Cleveland private eye Milan Jacovich reluctantly attends the fortieth reunion of his St. Clair High School graduating class, he gets a rude surprise: one of his classmates is found shot dead and another quickly becomes the main suspect.
The suspect, successful playwright Tommy Wiggins, draws Milan into the case—and puts him in a very awkward position. Investigating his former schoolmates is an uncomfortable task for Milan, as he soon discovers the dark secrets of people he only thought he knew.
The deceased Dr. Phil Kohn, it turns out, was a cad who managed to make more than a few enemies during his abbreviated life. But did a forty-year-old grudge really lead to his death? Or was it something more recent—a jealous spouse, a shady business partner?
Milan’s hunt for the real killer leads him through the oddly intertwined worlds of Cleveland’s medical community, organized crime, polite suburban society, and hard-core drug dealers.
It’s a tough investigation in which Milan could lose many friends—and, if he’s not careful, his life.
In the fourteenth book of his Milan Jacovich series, Les Roberts once again delivers a dose of real Cleveland characters and settings that bring the city to life on the page.
The Cleveland Creep
#15 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
A simple missing-person case gets complicated when Milan Jacovich (it’s pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovich) discovers that 28-year-old Earl Dacey left behind a strange collection of voyeuristic videos in his mother’s West Side Cleveland house. Was Earl just a pervert shadowing Catholic schoolgirls in Northeast Ohio shopping malls with his hidden camera . . . or had he become entangled with unsavory characters in the local adult film business?
When Milan uncovers a possible link to organized crime, the FBI gets interested—and Milan’s “well connected” friend Victor Gaimari gets angry. After a dead body turns up, the Cleveland Police take over, and Milan figures he’s off the case. So why does crusty Lieutenant McHargue ask him to lend a hand?
Still feeling the effects of a recent concussion and well aware of his aging body, Milan takes the advice of a colleague and hires an assistant. Kevin O’Bannion is young and eager to learn the P.I. business. An Army veteran with combat experience and a juvenile-crime record, he definitely won’t shy away from a fight. But will he be able to control his volatile temper and help get the job done? Milan finds out soon enough—with his own life on the line.
#16 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
An oversized appetite for fine dining, flashy suits, and Las Vegas call girls has made Cleveland councilman Bert Loftus the target of media scrutiny and an FBI investigation that may end his career. Now he says someone is trying to kill him. Eager to identify his attacker but not so eager to work with the cops, Loftus turns to private investigator Milan Jacovich (pronounced MY-lan YOCK-ovitch) for help.
A working P.I. can't afford to be too choosy about his clients, so Milan takes the job—though he’s not inclined to take Loftus’s story seriously. At least it will be an opportunity to break in his new employee, young powder-keg Kevin "K.O." O'Bannion.
Milan and K.O. quickly notice that something smells fishy—and it isn’t just the Whiskey Island Marina, where local power brokers down pricey drinks in front of Lake Erie sunsets. Loftus and several Cleveland landlords appear to be involved in something much darker than a typical cash-for-favors trade.
After a kinky call girl is found dead near the Cleveland Zoo and secret sex tapes are discovered in her downtown high-rise, Milan and K.O. must follow a trail of bribes, bullet casings, and debauchery to find the killer and uncover the true menace amid the muck of local government corruption.
Luckily they have the help of Cleveland police detective Tobe Blaine, a tough-as-nails officer recently relocated from Cincinnati. She and Milan team up in their search for clues and discover they have much more in common than crime . . .
Win, Place, or Die
#17 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series . . .
The sudden death of a client leads private investigator Milan Jacovich (MY-lan YOCK-ovitich) and new associate Kevin “K.O.” O’Bannion behind the scenes at a harness racing track, where they find no shortage of odd characters, suspicious activities . . . and danger.
Did wealthy horse owner/driver Glenn Gallagher make one too many enemies in the competitive racing world at North Coast Downs? (Certainly the track’s owner, chilly Chloe Markham, isn’t mourning his loss.) Or did someone involved with Gallagher’s investment firm want him dead?
Things get more complicated when Milan spots local mob boss Victor Gaimari at the funeral. Victor does have a legitimate investment business . . . but his henchman was seen lingering trackside at Northcoast Downs. Is there a connection?
Though eager to learn the P.I. business, K.O. still has trouble staying out of trouble. Assigned to dig up some dirt in the horse barns, he tangles with hot-tempered trainer Del Fiddler, who’s jealous of his flirtatious and curvaceous wife—and handy with a horse whip.
Another body turns up at the track, but the local sheriff’s office won’t share leads with a private investigator. Milan’s new flame, Cleveland police detective Tobe Blaine, can’t help; she’s out of her jurisdiction in Summit County.
Milan finally confronts the killer alone—and once again finds himself in deep trouble!