Blame the Dead - Ed Ruggero
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of BLAME THE DEAD by Ed Ruggero from Macmillan in an exchange for an honest review.

There seems to be tendency in big budget WWII stars to feature mainly, if not solely, white men. Rarely, will you see men of color. Sometimes you see women but by and large those women are limited to hiding people, falling in love with people, or nursing people. A sense of struggle or anything other than getting upset at death stalking men really isn’t shown.

Thankfully, Blame the Dead is an exception to this.

While Ed Ruggero’s debut mystery features as its lead a military police office Eddie Harkins who finds himself tasked with finding the murderer of an army doctor, it also features Kathleen Donnelly, a friend and an army nurse. It is though Donnelly and the other nurses that Ruggero showcases that not all battles are on the front lines. And if you need one reason to pick up this book, then his tackling of sexism and harassment in the work place is damn fine one because Ruggero can write women. Donnelly and Ronan in particular are fully realized and are not the stereotypical army nurse that seems to populate war stories.

Ruggero also works in other areas of morality in the times of war, of actions both behind the front lines and on the front lines. The front-line viewpoint is conveyed by the man who becomes Harkins’ driver, Colianno who provides the what seems to be mysterious past backstory that seems to be a requirement for many mysteries.

Ruggero’s writing style straddles the thin between too much information and too little. That sweet spot that some writers drift off as they have to tell you every little detail and spell out everything. He allows the relationships and backstory to come out in a way that make sense and that works quite well. Additionally, while Harkins and Donnelly are the main characters, he does dip into various thought processes of other character and these switches which in some books can be too jarring, are not jarring here and flow smoothly with the rate of the story.

There is a slightly false note, and that is the placement of a sex thing, it doesn’t quite fit and work. It’s not totally out of character or anything, but it feels very pro foma and therefore stands out from the rest of the book that feels very organic.