Finally I’m getting around to posting this. Way back on June 4th I had the privilege of being part of a Books for Bloggers event. It was held at Visible Voice Books in Tremont and allowed an intimate conversation between Cleveland bloggers and Cleveland mystery writer, Les Roberts.
When I received the email invitation I was excited. It allowed for me to bring a guest and I chose my lovely Wifebot, who of course could have attended as a local blogger herself.
A little bit of honesty time. When I first move to Cleveland way back in 2002 someone suggested I read one of the books in Les Robert’s Cleveland series. It went something like this:
Person: Hey yo you’re into writing and new to Cleveland. There is like this author who writes mysteries set in Cleveland.*
(*Nowhere near how it happened.)
I looked up the name and picked the first book in the series—Pepper Pike. I read it pretty fast and really liked it. I decided right than that I was going to get to know Milan Jacovich real well, but you know things come up. I hadn’t read another in the series since. I sort of forgot all about it until I received the email.
The event was to promote his new book, The Cleveland Creep and was sponsored by Roberts’ publisher Gray & Company.
Les met with us in Visible Voice Books’ quaint upstairs meeting room. I was happy to see the room because I’ve been considering it for a reading of one my plays.
(More on that later bitches!)
It was intimate and the author easily fell into a back and forth conversation. It wasn’t long before he was weaving story after story for us, and it felt like we were all old friends. He (obviously) can really tell a story. It was interesting to hear about how Cleveland grew on him and you could tell the love he had for the city.
The meet and greet was very lighthearted and filled with humor. He answered questions and signed the books.
I was happy to meet @ADHicken who I’d enjoyed on the twitter.
(Wait that didn’t come out right.)
(Not her but you know the royal her–nevermind!)
(That’s what she said!)
Roberts’ has lived in both Chicago and L.A. but fell in love with Cleveland and couldn’t leave. He’s lived here 21 years and tells how the city has influenced him and his writing. When asked about what needs to be done for the future growth of the city his first reaction was said with humor and care:
After a chuckle he dove into what he felt needed to be done. I snagged this from TimZaun.com because it was a little more thorough than my notes. His site is a very good read. He snapped the picture above too (Hooray for lazy jimi!)
• We need to stop the brain drain of Cleveland’s upcoming talent-young residents or transplants, choosing to be educated here; and then leaving town for larger, more progressive cities.
• Government needs to make it easier for businesses to locate here with tax incentives, etc.
• Officials who embody the “What’s in it for me?” mentality need to be replaced with individuals committed to helping Cleveland thrive.
• We need more writers to promote Cleveland’s assets.
The Cleveland Creep is Roberts’ 25th book and more importantly 15th featuring Cleveland private eye Milan Jacovich. I will have a longer review up soon but I will say that it is an excellent read. Once you talk to him it is hard to hear his voice as you read. It was near me and I opened it up just to read the first few pages and was instantly hooked. The story is a fast and smooth read. The book is filled with some wonderful prose. Jacovich’s humor and love for Cleveland mirrors that of Roberts. There is a tinge of sadness to the pages as the Cleveland private eye deals with age and loss. This only adds to the gritty realism and edge the series has.
Les Roberts will return in 2012 with Whiskey Island. The story will revolve around a Cleveland city councilman—who is corrupt—sound familiar?