Oline Cogdill


Bouchercon 2012 is less than a month away and you know what that means.

Time to get familiar with the mysteries set in Cleveland, the site of this year’s mystery conference.

(It’s also time to register, which I suggest you do right now.)

Here's a quick rundown on Cleveland mysteries.

First, of course, are the novels by Les Roberts whose series hero is Milan Jacovich. Roberts also is Bouchercon’s “Special Cleveland Guest of Honor.” Whiskey Island is Roberts’s 16th novel about Milan, an ex-cop turned private investigator with a master's degree and a taste for kielbasa and Stroh's beer.

Michael Koryta,at left, sets his series about private investigators Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard in Cleveland. Koryta’s last novel in this series was The Silent Hour in 2009, but there always is a chance these characters could return. Meanwhile, Koryta has written a string of excellent stand-alone novels including Envy the Night, which won the L.A. Times Book Prize in 2009, and The Prophet, his latest. Full disclosure: I was one of the judges who awarded Koryta with the L.A. Times Book Prize. In a Sun-Sentinel review for Envy the Night, I said: “The legacy of violence, the relationships of parents and adult children and the futility of revenge make for an action-packed story.”

Lisa Black, who also writes as Elizabeth Becka, has a gripping series about Theresa MacLean, a forensic scientist in Cleveland. Her latest is Defensive Wounds, which I praised in a review as “working well as a story about grief and the bonds between a mother and child, while including just enough forensics to satisfy readers who revel in the science.” Black’s Trail of Blood is a modern look at the Torso Killer who terrorized Cleveland more than 75 years ago and who was never caught. In a Mystery Scene review, I stated that Trail of Blood is “a tightly wound story that alternates between Cleveland of the 1930s and the contemporary black_trailofbloodcity. . . . Black keeps the level of suspense high as she believably switches the action from the 1930s to present day, contrasting Cleveland’s atmosphere and nuances during the Great Depression with those of the 21st century.”

Max Allan Collins, one of the genre’s most prolific authors, writes novels about Eliot Ness when he was a public safety officer during the 1930s in Cleveland where the former G-man moved following his Untouchable days.

Casey Daniels’ heroine, Cleveland’s cemetery tour guide Pepper Martin, communes with the ghost of a mob boss. Her latest novel is Supernatural Born Killers

And if you venture out of the Cleveland, or want to via novels, Linda Castillo sets her excellent novels in the fictional Painters Mill, Ohio, an Amish town where Kate Burkholder is the chief of police. For other Amish mysteries set in Ohio, visit a previous blog.

And there are several mysteries set in Cincinnati and other Ohio cities.

Better start reading. Bouchercon is just around the corner.