King of the Holly Hop
A Milan Jacovich Mystery by Les Roberts
Review: After an absence of almost six years, Cleveland private investigator Milan Jacovich returns to look into the murder of an old classmate in King of the Holly Hop, the fourteenth mystery in this series by Les Roberts.
Milan attending his 40th high school reunion probably wouldn't have been his first choice as a fun evening. But he's there and making the best of it. It promises to get more interesting, however, when Tommy Wiggins, a multiple award-winning writer and probably the most famous of his former classmates, says to Milan, "Machiavelli said you must never wound a prince. Make sure you kill him." The "prince" turns out to be Dr. Phil Kohn with his too-good-for-the-rest-of-you attitude. When Tommy and Phil have a public falling out in the middle of the reunion festivities, and Phil is later found dead in his car, Tommy is the prime suspect. Milan doesn't think Tommy did it as there were way too many other people who hated Phil and wouldn't have hesitated to put a bullet in his head.
In a way, it's unfortunate that Roberts chooses to introduce all the characters, including their background information, in the first chapter of King of the Holly Hop. Veteran mystery readers will no doubt immediately identify not only who is going to be killed but also who is doing the killing. By the end of the second chapter they'll be proved right about the murder victim, and, red herrings aside, by the end of the book they'll be proved right about the murderer. With the whodunit aspect not a factor here, is there a reason to read this book? Absolutely.
Roberts has a real talent for character development giving Milan an interesting cast to work with and play off of. That Milan is aging, sort of gracefully, sort of not, is all the more appealing. He must rely more on his wits and intellect than on mere physical prowess, not that he was ever short on the former, and build bridges instead of burning them. But if one phrase could be used to sum of Milan's investigative process, it might be this, aptly stated by the murderer when confronted by Milan: "To put it simply—you get in my way."
King of the Holly Hop is a real treat, whether this is the reader's first introduction to the Cleveland PI or one merely catching up with an old friend. The first thirteen books in the series, long out of print, have recently been reissued.
Acknowledgment: Gray and Co. provided a copy of King of the Holly Hop for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Gray and Co. (Hardcover), July 2012
ISBN-13: 9781938441097; ISBN-10: 1938441095
Location(s) referenced in King of the Holly Hop: Cleveland, Ohio
— ♦ —
King of the Holly Hop by Les Roberts — A Milan Jacovich Mystery
Publisher: Gray and Co.
Publication Date: June 2008
List Price: $24.95