The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes
In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them.
As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.
Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.
The Blameless Dead is an epic edge-of-the-seat drama that sweeps across centuries and continents, taking in some of the most important events of modern history and exposing them in honest and unflinching terms.
Book Review by Tanya Kaanta for Love Books Group
Wow. Where to start. This book gripped me from the first page and left me so sad when it ended. Because I never wanted it to end. I wanted this to be a tv series that would run for years because the writing and the character development was so well done. Not to mention, the plot. The suspense. The history. The crime. Everything just whetted my appetite for more.
Honest, I’m not a huge suspense/crime reading person. Sure, I’ll dabble in a few every year. But this book made me want to immerse myself in this genre. Because holy cow, I LOVED this book. Also of note, I like happily ever afters with minimal crime. This book was exact the opposite. There were more dark and gruesome acts exceeding my yearly limit, yet because the story was so well done and the depravity of the acts wasn’t gratuitous, I wasn’t phased. Honest. The “difficult” scenes were not over the top, were realistic, and painted just enough of a picture that I understood exactly what was going on. To me, this is how Mr. Haynes brilliance shines through. Because he’s writing about a difficult topic of snuff films, trafficking, murder, and the horrors of World War II. Yet he writes with finesse, ties each scene together, proves the scenes integrity and justification, which results in an extremely interesting—can’t put down story.
In a nutshell, New York lawyer Gabriel Hall teams up with FBI agent Carla Romero to investigate a double murder that leads to the possession of a snuff film, and yet another murder, and could potentially help Gabriel locate his niece, who was kidnapped within the past year.
The story takes us between the present and the end of WWII where we are introduced to a few Russian soldiers tasked with the immediate aftermath of the Nazi’s defeat. Two men in particular will be bound together based on acts that happen from the war. Yet their stories don’t meet again until the present. Enter our lawyer and FBI agent, as they try to solve the murder/kidnapping crime and how the players all tie together.
The doorway was the access point to a bunker. It was set back from the street in what was left of a concrete island amid a grassed square. The grass was black and pitted by firebombs. The iron railings that had surrounded it were piled on the ground, mangled and covered in severed bricks and clumps of mud. It looked as if the perimeter had been evacuated some time ago.
‘We going in, sergeant?’ the farmer said.
Pavel heard him wince in pain, although he tried to disguise the sound with an exaggerated grunt.
The bunker seemed to be empty. It offered sanctuary — for a time at least.
‘Yes.’ He said.
But knowing the bunker could be a nest of fascists, he felt a spasm in his stomach.
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