Wednesday, April 8, 2020
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Blame the Dead
by Ed Ruggero
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Hardcover & eBook; 336 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
The nurses of the US Army’s Field Hospitals, mobile units that operate just behind the battle lines, contend with heat, dirt, short-handed staffs, the threat of German counterattack and an ever-present flood of horribly wounded GIs. At the 11th Field Hospital near Palermo, Sicily in the bloody summer of 1943, nurses also live with the threat of violent assault by one of their own–at least until someone shoots Dr. Myers Stephenson in the head.
Enter Eddie Harkins, a tough former Philadelphia beat cop turned Military Police lieutenant, who is first on the scene. Although he has never been a detective, Harkins soon finds himself the lone investigator, either because the Military Police are under-staffed or because someone in power thinks this rank amateur will never get close to the real killer. When the hospital commander tries to derail Harkins’ investigation by transferring or harassing key witnesses, it becomes clear to Harkins that the unit is rotten to its core, that the nurses are not safe, and that patients who have survived Nazi bullets are still at risk after they arrive at this place that is supposed to save them.
Harkins fights–and worries that he is losing–multiple battles. He is driven to give hope to nurses who just want to do their life-saving work, to right at least a few of the wrongs around him, and to do penance for sins in his own past. The one bright note for Harkins is a rekindled relationship with Kathleen Donnelly, a nurse from Harkins’ old neighborhood; but even that is complicated when Donnelly becomes a victim.
“The title of this riveting, finely crafted novel may be Blame the Dead, but I blame author Ed Ruggero–for keeping me up at night, reading “just one more” chapter then another and another. Whether your interests lie in a well-wrought mystery, a classic cop story, historical settings or first-rate military fiction, this thoroughly enjoyable novel set during World War II checks the block. Great pacing, compelling characters, solid research and a fiendishly clever plot add up to non-stop reading excitement.” ―Ralph Peters, author of Cain at Gettysburg and Judgment at Appomattox
“This book is a lot of fun, written with an insider’s feel for the U.S. Army and its history.” ―Thomas E. Ricks, author of The Generals and Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
“Ruggero’s story sets itself apart with the vividly rendered field-hospital setting and the focus on the battle-hardened nurses. A solid choice for WWII-thriller fans.” ―Booklist
“At the start of this exceptional WWII mystery and series launch, Lt. Eddie Harkins, an MP who was once a Philadelphia beat cop, comes across a murder scene near Palermo, Sicily…. Ruggero plays fair with his readers and makes the carrying out of a homicide inquiry in wartime both exciting and plausible.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Ruggero uses his military expertise to create a vivid and unconventional setting for a murder mystery, crafting an intriguing quagmire of institutional corruption to challenge his everyman hero.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
Ed Ruggero is a West Point graduate and former Army officer who has studied, practiced, and taught leadership for more than twenty-five years. His client list includes the FBI, the New York City Police Department, CEO Conference Europe, the CIA, the Young Presidents Organization, Forbes, among many others. He has appeared on CNN, The History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and CNBC and has spoken to audiences around the world on leadership, leader development and ethics. Blame the Dead is his first novel starring World War II military police officer Eddie Harkins. He lives in Philadelphia.