From: James R. Winter (
Date: 01 Aug 2005

Jacovich is definitely Slovenian. And yes, Saxon came first. I always picture Saxon as Les's more vain twin while Milan is something else entirely. (Which I'll elaborate on when I get to DEEP SHAKER in a couple of weeks.)

I've heard quite a few stories on Les's adventures with the piano, too. I heard one time he and Ruth Cavin sat down together in the lounge of a Philadelphia hotel and played a few songs together.

(Actually, wasn't that you, Dennis, that told me that story? Or am I thinking of someone else?)

Jim Winter

----- Original Message ----- From: "Dennis Lynds" <> To: <> Sent: Monday, August 01, 2005 1:17 AM Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: A CARROT FOR THE DONKEY by Les Roberts

>I think Les's Cleveland detective is a Slovak not a Slovene. And I think
> had started that series along with the Saxson before he left LA for Shaker
> Heights.
> By the way, do you all know my old buddy Les is an accomplished lounge
> pianist? Very suave.
> Dennis
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "James R. Winter" <>
> To: <>; "Rara Avis"
> <>
> Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2005 8:50 PM
> Subject: RARA-AVIS: A CARROT FOR THE DONKEY by Les Roberts
>> The third Saxon novel finds the actor-cum-PI going to Tijuana to retrieve
> the missing daughter of a coked-up Hollywood director with more money than
> he knows what to do with. Merissa Evering runs off to Mexico with a
> sleazewad immigration lawyer named Martin Swanner. Swanner leaves a trail
> of pissed-off people everywhere he goes, especially in Tijauna, where
> Saxon
> finds him dead. He also finds himself a guest of the local constabulary,
> who have decidedly un-American views on Miranda and police brutality.
> Never
> the less, Saxon gets out and finds himself tangling with a local gang lord
> and a petulant young bullfighter. His fruitless search for Merissa leads
> him to an affair with the irresistable Carmen and into a web of illegal
> immigrant smuggling and the worst Tijuana has to offer. Between this and
> Kent Harrington's DIA DE LOS MUERTOS, I have pretty much crossed TJ off my
> list of places to visit.
>> This has got to be the most cynical Les Roberts novel I've read to date.
> In the opening chapters, he constantly slams and zings the Hollywood
> system
> and culture. With a copyright date of 1989, it's pretty clear this was
> during his transition from Los Angeles to Cleveland, where he became
> better
> known for the Milan Jacovich series. And I'm pretty sure Milan would have
> held his own much better in TJ than Saxon. But then Jacovich is a Vietnam
> vet, an ex-cop, and a long time PI. Saxon is an actor using the PI gig to
> support his acting habit. Naturally, he's going to be a little less
> durable - and Roberts certainly beats the snot out of him in this one -
> and
> a lot more vain than his Slovenian rust belt counterpart. He frets about
> his waistline and his looks as he's beaten, shot at, and starved.
>> The story offers a solid plot, with the Carmen subplot sounding a little
> off until the very end, when Roberts ties up her role rather nicely. His
> picture of Tijuana as hell on Earth is what drives this story, the sheer
> stink of desperation of the place, crushing poverty and squalid
> conditions.
> I asked someone who'd been there this weekend if it was really that bad.
> She read Harrington's book and said, "Yes. It's that bad."
>> Along with DIA, which was written some 12 years later (? Someone know
> when that was originally released?), CARROT also conjured up images from
> SUN ALSO RISES. Instead of Spain, though, the bullfights take place in
> TJ,
> and the difference between clean, rich Madrid and depressed Tijuana are
> striking. Sometimes, during the bullfight sections, Roberts even lapses
> into Hemingway's style, though not with glaringly obvious riffs on the
> minimalist gems like "He went to the river. The river was there." More
> like the run-on descriptions that pepper SUN. If you read SUN, it really
> conjures up the idea of someone from that book slumming it in Baja.
>> The is the best of the three Saxon books I've read so far, and the
>> darkest
> book by Roberts I've read to date. (Mind you, there are some later
> Jacovich's I haven't gotten to.)
>> Jim Winter
>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>> RARA-AVIS home page:
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