cover image Blame the Dead

Blame the Dead

Ed Ruggero. Forge, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-31274-7

At the start of this exceptional WWII mystery and series launch from Ruggero (The Academy), Lt. Eddie Harkins, an MP who was once a Philadelphia beat cop, comes across a murder scene near Palermo, Sicily. In the confusion of a German air raid at dawn that August 1943 morning, someone shot Capt. Meyers Stephenson, a surgeon, in the back of the head at close range. Harkins, who gets assigned to oversee the murder investigation, soon learns that Stephenson had plenty of enemies in the army hospital where he’d been working, including members of the nursing staff whom he routinely sexually harassed. Stephenson was also suspected of killing a nurse who supposedly choked to death on her own vomit after getting drunk with him. Harkins’s determination to find justice for the dead man and expose the horrific treatment of the nurses places him at odds with the hospital’s commander. Ruggero plays fair with his readers and makes the carrying out of a homicide inquiry in wartime both exciting and plausible. Fans of James Benn and Owen Parry will be pleased. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Mar.)