cover image Comes the War: Book Two in the Victory in Europe Series

Comes the War: Book Two in the Victory in Europe Series

Ed Ruggero. Forge, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-31287-7

Set in April 1944, Ruggero’s taut sequel to 2020’s Blame the Dead finds Lt. Eddie Harkins, a former Philadelphia beat cop, reassigned to the London branch of the Office of Strategic Services after a stint as an MP. On Harkins’s first day on the new job, he’s dispatched to an alley to examine the corpse of Helen Batcheller, an economic analyst for the OSS. Someone slashed her throat and left her to bleed to death. The absence of one of the dead woman’s shoes suggests that she may have been attacked by a sex fetishist who removed the footwear as a souvenir. Other suspects include Soviet operatives who Batcheller knew were secretly working to plant moles in the British and American governments. These ostensible allies might have silenced her to preserve their subversive mission. The sensitivity of the victim’s work complicates Harkins’s search for the truth. Ruggero recreates the period’s feel, months before the Normandy invasion, while playing fair with the reader. His superior storytelling makes comparisons to James Benn appropriate. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Feb.)