I met Bob Adamov at the Cleveland Boat Show. He told me he wrote the Emerson Moore Put-in-Bay Adventure series. Put-in-Bay is an idyllic island paradise on Bass Island in western Lake Erie. It is known for partying and boasts it is the home of the world’s longest bar. Despite the fact that Emerson was an investigative reporter, and the cover featured a freighter, I naively assumed that this was a lightweight cozy mystery, but I was wrong. This is a serious hard boiled thriller in the same style of writing as Clive Cussler, Mr. Adamov’s favorite author.

The story opens in 1991 as Emerson takes on his first major investigative assignment in war torn Yugoslavia. The story is set in the Croatian city of Vukovar, a town populated by both Serbians and Croatians. Vuk, the Serbian commander, is killing both Croatians and Croatian sympathizers in torturous, heart-reaching and revolting ways.

This section of the book was based on Dr. Jerry Blaskovich’s book, “Anatomy of Deceit,” a detailed first-hand account of the war. Mr. Adamov was given permission to use some of these accounts in the writing of this book. This part of the story reminds us of man’s inhumanity and why war must be stopped. It vividly shows why the UN had an International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity.

The story advances to present time with Emerson living with his aunt in Put-in-Bay. When a young woman is murdered and two teenage girls go missing, Emerson investigates. This part of the story, which is linked eventually to the first part, looks at human trafficking.

Here again, Mr. Adamov has done some serious research. In the U.S. a child disappears every forty seconds. Toledo, Ohio because of its proximity to Canada, Lake Erie, I-75 and the Ohio turnpike, provide a strategic location for human traffickers. These “slaves” are used both for sexual purposes and for human labor in agriculture and factories.

“Zenobia” is the eight book in the Emerson Moore Put-in-Bay series. Adamov was named 2010’s Writer of the Year by the University of Akron’s Wayne College. He was the featured author at the 2006 Ernest Hemingway Days’ Literary Festival in Key West. He has also spoken at the Clive Cussler Collector Society Convention.

This might be a good book for book clubs to discuss as it addresses important issues. But be prepared for the vivid, detailed, tortuous violence.

Four stars out of five.


In accordance with the FTC guidelines for reviewers, I would like to clarify that this book was provided to me by the publisher free of charge.  I am not compensated by the author or publisher for my review.  All they expect is an honest review of the work.