I’m still very behind on my reviews, and blogging in general, if that’s not already obvious – but I’m here today reviewing a book outside my usual genre.
Blame the Dead by Ed Ruggero
My Edition: ARC paperback – 335 pages – 2020 – publisher – ISBN: 9781250312747 (hardcover)
Thank you to Wunderkind for sending me this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
Lieutenant Harkins finds himself investigating a crime scene in Sicily at the U.S. Army’s 11th field hospital. Nurses and doctors are under the constant threat of German counterattack and short-staffed while they try their best to aid the wounded GIs constantly arriving at their tents, and now a doctor is found dead from a gunshot to the head. Harkins is soon in over his head, scrambling to solve a murder before the murderer can strike again and before the hospital moves itself to its next location.
I’m not sure what about this book caught my interest when I was offered a copy for review, but I’m glad I took a chance on something outside of my usual fantasy and sci-fi genres. I do occasionally read historical fiction, but not typically about WWI (or any war, really). At any rate, I’m glad I picked this up, as it was a compelling read and kept me intrigued during these crazy times we’ve all found ourselves in.
Harkins is no Sherlock Holmes – in fact, there are times when I wanted to shake him and tell him to stop being such a bull-headed ass. But that’s not a bad thing. He’s earnest and hard-working and doing his best during a situation he’s ill-prepared to handle. A good portion of the book highlights the trials nurses on the front were forced to deal with (in addition to the hardships of war), including sexual abuse from doctors (much of which I imagine actually happened often) and Harkins is at first almost willingly oblivious. But thanks to a run-in with a childhood friend of his, he begins to see the truth in her story and the stories of the other nurses. He goes through a lot of growth as a man and become a champion for the nurses, even if he’s still not the best detective.
If you’re interested in detective stories, especially one set during WWI, then I think you’ll enjoy this. If this isn’t your regular cup of reading tea, I would still suggest you give it a chance if something about the premise interests you. I don’t automatically turn my nose up at books that aren’t fantasy or sci-fi, but I do naturally gravitate towards them. This was a nice reminder to myself to continue to look for books in other genres!
*cover image from Macmillan