Friday, February 12, 2021

Showcase - Comes The War by Ed Ruggero A Tor/Forge new release

 Today I'm showcasing #2 in Ed Ruggero's Eddie Hawkin's series, Comes The War. Ruggero takes readers back to WWII Britan where Lieutenant Harkins is tasked with investigating the murder of an OSS operative.

ISBN-13:  9781250312877
Publisher: Tor/Forge
Release Date: 02-09-2021
Length: 288pp
Eddie Harkins #2
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound


Set against the heroism and heartbreak of WW II, former Army officer Ed Ruggero's Comes the War brilliantly captures the timeless stories of ordinary people swept up in extraordinary times

April 1944, the fifty-fifth month of the war in Europe. The entire island of Britain fairly buzzes with the coiled energy of a million men poised to leap the Channel to France, the first, riskiest step in the Allies’ long slog to the heart of Germany and the end of the war.

Lieutenant Eddie Harkins is tasked to investigate the murder of Helen Batcheller, an OSS analyst. Harkins is assigned a British driver, Private Pamela Lowell, to aid in his investigation. Lowell is smart, brave and resourceful; like Harkins, she is prone to speak her mind even when it doesn’t help her.

Soon a suspect is arrested and Harkins is ordered to stop digging. Suspicious, he continues his investigation only to find himself trapped in a web of Soviet secrets. As bombs fall, Harkins must solve the murder and reveal the spies before it is too late.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Read an excerpt:


20 April 1944

0625 hours

There was a white-helmeted American military policeman at the alley entrance when First Lieutenant Eddie Harkins got out of the staff car. He could see the body about thirty feet in, lying next to some rubbish cans; but there was no crowd, not a single curious onlooker, dead bodies having become all too common in bomb-smashed London. Inside the alley, a man in a dark raincoat squatted near the corpse, while another man stood writing in a pocket notebook.

The MP came to attention when Harkins approached, gave him a snappy salute.

“Who are those guys?” Harkins asked the soldier.

“Brits, sir. Detectives. They said the woman, the victim, is American, so they sent for us. Me and my corporal got here a few minutes ago and they told us to secure the alley. Corporal Quinn is down the other end.”

Harkins looked up and down the street, blocks of two- and three-story buildings, the ground floors mostly shops, judging by the signs. Not one with all its windows intact. He wondered where the victim had been coming from or going to.

“They give you their names?” he asked the MP, nodding at the detectives.

“Yes, sir.”

Harkins looked at the man, who said nothing.

“Care to share them with me?”

“Couldn’t understand them, sir. I just can’t get the hang of these accents. Sorry.”

Harkins knew how the kid felt. He’d just spent two days in Scotland, waiting for orders, and he’d heard another GI ask, in all seriousness, what language the locals spoke.

He walked into the alley; the detective with the notebook looked up at him.

“You a copper?”

“Yeah. Eddie Harkins. And you are?”

“Just leaving,” the man said. “This is one of yours, and happy to hand it over.”

Harkins wasn’t sure of the jurisdictional issues, but the detectives seemed to be.

The second detective stood up. He was taller than the first one, face sallow, cheeks sunken, like a man with a wasting disease.

“Pulled this card from her pocket,” the tall man said. “She wasn’t carrying a handbag, or at least we didn’t find one. But she had a wallet, like a bloke’s wallet.”

Harkins took the proffered billfold, an identification booklet inside. Batcheller, Helen. American civilian. The tiny black-and-white photo stapled inside seemed to match the victim, though she looked considerably healthier in the picture. Her occupation was listed as “analyst.” Her employer was the Office of Strategic Services, the OSS, which happened to be Eddie Harkins’ new home in London.

“You a spook, too?” the detective with the notebook asked.

Harkins was looking down at the body, which lay faceup. The woman was missing her right shoe, the left one was worn at the heel.

“What’s that?” Harkins asked, when he noticed the detectives looking at him.

“You with the OSS?” The one with the notebook was talkative, maybe a little pissed off. He wore an old-fashioned fedora, the brim pulled down at a jaunty angle.

“Yeah, but I’m a cop. I mean, I was a cop. Then I was an MP.”

“But you’re not an MP now?”

“I don’t know yet,” Harkins said. “I just got here this morning.”

“First day on the job?”


“Aren’t you the lucky bastard.”

Harkins squatted next to the body, examined the wound, one clean slice across the throat. The wide spray pattern of blood on the ground meant the cut most likely sliced both carotids; the killer knew what he—or she—was doing. The victim’s hands and sleeves were bloody; she had probably made a futile attempt to staunch the flow and save herself in the few seconds before she lost consciousness. Probably bled out in a minute or two.

“Any theories about where she was coming from or going to?” Harkins asked as he stood.

The man with the notebook said, “That’s your problem now, mate.”

“Don’t be an arse,” the tall one said to his partner. Then, to Harkins, “It’s just that we’ve had a lot of back-and-forth over jurisdiction with you Yanks. Tommy here is a little bit tired, that’s all.”

The tall man held his hand out, and the one named Tommy handed over his notebook.

“Why don’t you take a walk, Tommy? I’ll catch up in a bit.”

Tommy gave Harkins one more sour look, then walked toward the end of the alley.

“Name’s Hoyle,” the tall detective said, offering his hand. “Detective Sergeant.”

“Harkins.” The men shook.

“The way it started, this was back in ’42, any crime where both the victim and perpetrator were American was handled by your military authorities. If a British civvy was involved, either as victim or perpetrator, we investigated alongside your provost marshal. After a while it got so the American investigators were cutting us out altogether if a Yank was involved. Naturally, some of the fellas resented this. Tommy, for instance.”

“I see,” Harkins said. And he did. During his time as a Philadelphia cop he’d seen arguments over jurisdiction break into actual fistfights among detectives.

“Well, this victim is definitely yours, so you’ll take charge of the remains. Tommy and I will do a sweep of the neighborhood, see if we can scare up any witnesses.”

Copyright © 2021 by Ed Ruggero


★ 11/30/2020

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.)

Publishers Weekly

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.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds intriguing. And a Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.