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Pepper Pike by Les Roberts

Pepper Pike (1988)

by Les Roberts

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This is the first book in the Milan Jacovich series (though it's not the first one I've read from the series). I like the books because Les Roberts is a local author (whom I've met in the past) and because the main characters name is based on that of a local dentist (albeit with a different spelling) whom I've also met in the past.

I felt this novel was well put together though I have seen improvements in the storytelling in later novels in the series. I liked seeing Milan's beginnings. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Jan 17, 2016 |
Milan Jacovich is a rather eccentric private investigator in Cleveland, Ohio, and he receives a strange call one night from Richard Amber, a big wig in the advertising business. Amber wants to hire Milan as a body guard for twelve hours. The pay is good; Milan has nothing better to do; so off he goes to meet Amber at his house in ritzy Pepper Pike. If the call wasn't strange enough, when Milan arrives, Amber is no where to be found.

The next morning, Milan receives yet another call. This time the call is from Amber's wife, Judith. She's also calling to hire Milan. Judith Amber wants Milan to find Richard Amber; he's missing. Richard Amber's disappearance may turn out to be more than your basic "missing person" case for Milan.

PEPPER PIKE is the first book in the popular Milan Jacovich series, originally published in 1988. Being from the Cleveland area, it's about time I got around to reading Cleveland's favorite P.I. If you've never been to the Cleveland area, believe me when I say that Les Roberts is not only true to the flavor and feel of this part of Ohio, but his love of the region radiates from the pages. I shivered actually feeling the wet and cold when Milan was trekking through some residential back yards.

In addition to the physical geography, Roberts does a stellar job illustrating class distinction and the sharp contrast that can exist in the Cleveland region. One needn't drive far to see the struggling working class and then the obscenely wealthy: from a bar where everyone is hanging their hopes on the night's lottery numbers to homes costing in the range of the mid six figures (remember it's the 80s). Even organized crime has a face in the urban sprawl of Cleveland.

The realism doesn't stop at the setting. Roberts is also a master crafter when it comes to his characters. Milan exhibits many of the traits of the traditional P.I. He's witty, a loner and has a knack for finding trouble even when he isn't looking for it. But he also has some traits unique to the P.I. character. As a female reader, the one I most admire is his respect for women, which is probably a reflection of his creator because the female characters in the novel are also worthy of respect. PEPPER PIKE is not full of beautiful women with empty heads, nor damsels in distress who are saved through sex. Roberts' emphasizes Milan's intelligence, thoughtfulness and vulnerability, not brute strength. Milan is also principled, encouraging the reader to develop a strong faith in Milan, cheering him on when the odds are against him.

PEPPER PIKE was an enjoyable read, and I'm glad I finally managed to remove it from the "to be read" pile and check it off the "read" list. I will also be adding the remainder of the series to my must read list. The biggest benefit of discovering a series late? Not having to wait for the next book to be published! Les Roberts published the fourteenth Milan Jacovich novel last year, so I'll have plenty of Milan to keep me reading for awhile. ( )
  jenforbus | Jun 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312922132, Mass Market Paperback)

P.I. Milan Jacovich is a private investigator with a master's degree, an ex-wife, a penchant for Kolbasa sandwiches, and a habit for finding trouble. What begins as a simple bodyguard job turns into the mysterious disappearance of advertising hotshot, Richard Amber. Now Jacovich is following a trail that leads from posh private gun clubs to sleek corporate offices, political scandal - and into the heart of the Midwest Mob. And then along comes Mary, Amber's former mistress, who touches chords in Milan Jacovich he had thought were forever silenced. As he is drawn deeper and deeper into this case, he uncovers a brutal torture killing, and discovers that someone wants him off the case - and murder seems to be the easiest way.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:51 -0400)

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