Comes the War is the second novel in Ed Ruggero’s Eddie Harkins WW2 thrillers. The first book Blame the Dead by Ed Ruggero was set in Sicily in 1943 during the Allied push north. Philadelphia beat cop Eddie Harkins survives the bombings and the various threats to solve the mystery of Doctor Stephenson’s murder. Comes the War begins as Harkins is transferred to London in the spring of ’44 for the ramp-up of the invasion into northern France. On the morning of Harkin’s arrival, the body of a young American woman is found with her throat slit in an alley. Eddie gets to the scene of the crime and immediately finds himself in a jurisdictional nightmare. British investigators, other Americans who want the crime swept under the rug, and what about those Russian ‘diplomats’ who are already planning for life after the war?
Caught in between so many fighting factions, Harken is lucky to find a couple allies… One of whom is his newly attached driver, a young British private named Pamela Lowell. She reminds me a bit of one of my favorite characters of all time in one of my favorite TV shows… Sam Stewart from Foyle’s War. Like Sam, Lowell in Comes the War is as much a part of the investigation as Harkins himself. She’s the translator, guide, and psychologist in one… There’s a lot for a Yank to try to piece together after just a couple days on the case in an unknown big city. One that continues to be threatened by The Blitz. To help, Lowell seems to have contacts and info all over the Allied war effort. Great character!
Ruggero sets up this mystery so well… in just the first few pages a suspect of convenience is identified. A drunk airman who was in the general location of the victim on the night in question and unfortunately, has no memory of anything. Some administrators close to the case see this as an opportunity for a slam dunk, but Harkins is prepared to dig deeper and find the proof. And as all the factions start to come out of the woodwork, the novel just becomes that much more complex… and the suspect list keeps growing and growing! (Which I love!)
I read so many WW2 spy thrillers in my 20s that I got a bit burned out… Ruggero’s novels are perfect welcome back to this genre for me. This series feels fresh and true to the period. It combines everyday people forced into dangerous situations… taking jobs they never would imagine doing.
Comes the War is a book that I raced through… a book that focuses on the awesome responsibility of finding the culprit in the midst of war.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, Forge Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.