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The Ashtabula Hat Trick: A Milan Jacovich…

The Ashtabula Hat Trick: A Milan Jacovich Mystery (Milan Jacovich…

by Les Roberts

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Milan and K.O. follow Cleveland detective Tobe Blaine to Queenstown Ohio to help her solve a murder case. The town however has got to be the most racist town in world. The preacher teaches his flock to hate blacks, gays, you name it. This will not be an easy case to solve.

I was so excited to finally receive my copy of The Ashtabula Hat Trick as I love reading about Milan and company. This book not so much. Gone is the usual light hearted banter between Milan and K.O. In todays world when you simply cannot turn on the tv and listen to news because of all the racial tension and accusations I open a book to get away from all that. Unfortunately for me this is all this book is about. It just had a different feel then the other Milan Jacovich books and it was one I didn't care for.

I won this from LibraryThing Early Reviewer for and honest review. ( )
  Draak | Oct 7, 2016 |
The 18th book in the Milan Jacovich series, The Ashtabula Hat Trick is, unfortunately, the weakest in the series. There are a few reasons for this. A few books back, author Les Roberts gave his private detective a sidekick, Kevin, K.O., O'Bannion. The transitions from first-person, Milan chapters, to close third-person K.O. chapters don't always work. This book also has a third main character, Milan's girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Tobe Blaine, who has a few chapters of her own. The series was stronger when told just from Milan's perspective. While these characters are fairly well-fleshed out, most of the other characters are not. In fact, it is disappointing that a book with a theme about tolerance to different races and sexual orientation has its main characters constantly denigrating rural, uneducated, and religious people in a fairly sweeping way. The mystery itself is fine, although Milan and crew don't solve it as much as have the murderer fall into their lap. Definitely for completists only. ( )
  smcgurr | Nov 20, 2015 |
Queenstown, Ohio, in Ashtabula County, was a very small town near Lake Erie n northeast Ohio. Unlike the idealistic small town of people’s imaginations, however, it had an ugly underside. The murder of two of its long time residents, one by stabbing and one by being hit on the head with a club, lead to the exposures of some of that underside.
When the police chief of the three-man department found himself unable to solve the murders, the first in the town’s history, he turned to the Cleveland Police Department for help. The CPD sent Detective Sergeant Tobe Blaine to help out. She, in turn, brought along her boyfriend, Private Investigator Milan Jacovich to assist. Their mere presence opened one of the major secrets: The people of Queenstown were extremely bigoted and the sight of a black woman, particularly a police officer, and her white lover, immediately made many of them reluctant to cooperate.
A third murder, the drowning of a woman by someone holding her head underwater in her spa, led Tobe and Milan to call for additional help in the form of Milan’s young assistant, K.O. (Kevin O’Bannion) When he showed up, their opposition to homosexuality became a major issue as well.
The town seemed to run rather well. “This isn’t Cleveland. It’s a remote corner of Nowhere. We don’t worry about government ruled; we make our own.” In most cases, it worked.
One main source of employment and revenue was the nearby state prison in Conneaut. It had been pretty good until it was privatized three years previously. Since then, it became overcrowded and unsanitary and the prisoners suffered from abuse, awful food, and a lack of any programs to help them become rehabilitated..Many of the Queenstown residents worked there while they waited for a relative or friend to be released.
As the trio tried to determine what the victims had in common, the only thing they could find was that they all attended the same ultra-conservative church, so much, but not all, of the investigation centered around the minister and the congregation.
One person they interviewed stated,“I don’t always agree with everything the parson says.” Milan responded: “I don’t agree with everything anyone says. Life’d be better if we thought for ourselves once in a while.”
The minister and many of the congregants, in a situation that is all to frequent, tended to focus on specific actions and ideas as major sins. They were not above twisting parts of the Bible to match their own opinions. For example, one of their issues was the sin of masturbation and they cited the Biblical story of Onan as the source of that prohibition. The problem is that Onan was not censured for masturbating. His sin was refusing to follow the Levirate Law which required a man to impregnate his sister-in-law after the death of his brother so that his brother would have an heir. This would have economic consequences since the child would receive the inheritance of the deceased son. So Onan withdrew from Tamar and “spilled his seed” instead. That was his sin. But that was not the way the church taught it.
Other areas discussed include drugs and infidelity.
Interesting point: Coshoctan is the northernmost city in Ohio.
The book is an easy, well-written read with several red herrings but, if you pay close attention, you may be able to figure out the killer or killers on your own.. K.O. shows that he is well-qualified for his job as he grows into his role. My main criticism is that the story is shallow: Too many interviews just skim the surface and end with leaving the reader wondering what the trio had hoped to learn and what they learned that made the inclusion necessary. ( )
  Judiex | Aug 11, 2015 |
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The people of Queenstown, Ohio, don't take kindly to strangers. But they have no choice in the matter after a man's body is found in a local park, pants unzipped and stabbed through the heart -- and a second man's body turns up days later, his head bashed in. Local law enforcement needs help with the town's first-ever murder investigation… (more)

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