Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Forge Books (March 3, 2020)
Praise for BLAME THE DEAD
“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
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.
Ed Ruggero has studied, practiced, and taught leadership for more than twenty-five years, helping organizations develop the kinds of leaders people want to follow. His client list includes the FBI, the New York City Police Department, CEO Conference Europe, the CIA, the Young Presidents Organization, Forbes, the SAS Institute, Hugo Boss USA, CitiFinancial, and Time, 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. Ed is a senior advisor to McKinsey & Company and has been a panelist for The Washington Post’s On Leadership series. He also has been a guest speaker at Harvard Business School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
Ed is the author of eleven books, including Duty First: West Point and the Making of American Leaders, a study of leader development at the US Military Academy; and Combat Jump: The Young Men Who Led the Assault Into Fortress Europe, July 1943, which became a one-hour docudrama on The History Channel. Ed is also the co-author of The Leader’s Compass, a fictional story of how one leader developed a personal leadership philosophy. His most recent book is The First Men In: US Paratroopers and the Fight to Save D-Day.
After his graduation from West Point, Ed received his commission in the United States Army and served as an infantry officer in a variety of leadership positions, followed by an assignment teaching at West Point. After his service, Ed continued to share his insights about leadership, leading to his career as an author, public speaker, and trainer.
Ed is the founder and principal of The Gettysburg Leadership Experience, The Concord Leadership Experience, The Valley Forge Leadership Experience and the Normandy Leadership Experience, four distinct experiential learning programs in which participants walk the grounds of great military struggles and learn battle-tested leadership lessons that will help them meet today’s business challenges.
- What is on your nightstand?
In the Garden of the Beasts, by Erik Larson; Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker PhD; and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson
- What author would you totally fan?
Lynn Olson (Citizens of London, Last Hope Island, Madame Fourcade’s War). I actually did this last year at a reception for authors.
- Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
I’m pretty obsessive. I chart the chapters, points of view, length and action to make sure I can track who does what and when. See “Five Tips for Building a Page Turner” in The Strand Magazine.
- Is there a word you love to use?
I’m a big fan of the unexpected verb, or verb as a noun. “The murmuring of innumerable bees.” (Emily Dickinson)