A good old-fashioned spy novel


“The Dead Don’t Bleed” by David Krugler (Pegasus Crime, 309 pages, $25.95)

Twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union was fading away. The Cold War was ending. There were still Chinese spies lurking, but the USSR had been providing significant secret agent action. The current Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a former KGB agent. That fact speaks volumes.

Hitler’s Third Reich collapsed in 1945. The Red Army swept into Berlin. An Iron Curtain soon rose up from the rubble and sealed off a swath of Europe. For the next 45 years, the region was crawling with spies.

As this spy craft flourished, some espionage writers depicting clandestine activities thrived, too. The period from 1945 to 1991 was a golden age for spy novelists who wrote about it. Fortunately we have a new crop of writers who are re-inventing this literary form.

David Krugler’s “The Dead Don’t Bleed” is set in Washington, D.C., in 1945 just as World War II was drawing to a close. On Page 2, the body of Lieutenant junior grade Logan Skerrill, U.S.N., has been discovered in a poor neighborhood. It is 1 a.m. and our narrator, another naval officer named Lieutenant Voigt, has been called in to investigate and examine the crime scene.

The body is still warm. The investigators converse: “This a lotta blood?” “Depends on how many times he was shot. One thing for sure, he didn’t die right away.” “How do you know?” Terrance gestured at the stain covering the bricks and filling the mortar lines. “Because the dead don’t bleed.”

We are only on Page 5, and we already have our title. Crime novelists often make their readers wait a bit longer to figure out the sources for their titles but in “The Dead Don’t Bleed,” the author David Krugler is in a hurry. The action is fast paced and the mystery of Skerrill’s death is gorgeously wrought and splendidly opaque.

Skerrill was a spy. Voigt is there because he is also an espionage agent and he needs to find out who had sniffed out then snuffed out his colleague. Skerrill and Voigt were trained together to work undercover for the Office of Naval Intelligence. The two men didn’t get along.

The War in Europe had just ended. In the Pacific the Japanese still fought on. During that summer of 1945 Washington, D.C. was bristling with spies. There were whispered rumors that a top-secret project was underway in New Mexico. Soviet spies were working overtime trying to find out all about it. Most readers will recognize that it was the Manhattan Project that was in the final stages of delivering the atomic bombs that would be dropped on Japan.

Voigt goes deep undercover. He begins working for a newspaper clipping service that is really a front for a Soviet spy operation. Voigt is young, and he’s in love. He keeps sneaking away from his spying to rendezvous with his girlfriend. Will his indiscretions compromise national secrets and allow the Soviets the wherewithal to construct their own atomic bombs? Read “The Dead Don’t Bleed” for a thrill-packed ride with a truly stunning ending.


Reader Comments


Next Up in Local

Going to concerts, games and events in Columbus is about to get more expensive 
Going to concerts, games and events in Columbus is about to get more expensive 

It is going to soon be more expensive to attend many events, games and concerts in Columbus. >> MUST-TRY: These beefy burgers are well worth the drive east on I-70 Columbus City Council enacted a 5 percent admission tax on most arts and cultural events in the city, Monday night, according to the Columbus Dispatch and other...
Off-duty Dayton cop attended police ball before burglary arrest where he appeared drunk, telling officers: ‘I’m going to throw up in the back seat of your car.’ 
Off-duty Dayton cop attended police ball before burglary arrest where he appeared drunk, telling officers: ‘I’m going to throw up in the back seat of your car.’ 

Hours before his arrest on suspicion of burglary after allegedly kicking in a door of a residence in the early morning hours of Nov. 11, off-duty Dayton Police Officer Torrence E. LaPrath attended a police ball held at the Dayton FOP hall, a Dayton Daily News investigation found. Dayton FOP President Rick Oakley confirmed that LaPrath attended the...
Area stores to stay open 83 nonstop hours leading up to Christmas
Area stores to stay open 83 nonstop hours leading up to Christmas

Kohl’s won’t close its doors for 83 straight hours leading up to Christmas, giving even the night owls a chance to shop at the stores. Once Kohl’s stores open at 7 a.m. Dec. 21, it won’t close again until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, an annual shopping marathon. »BIZ BEAT: Online holiday shopping expected to logjam delivery:...
Report: Christmas presents stolen from Dayton garage
Report: Christmas presents stolen from Dayton garage

A Grinch broke into a Dayton woman’s garage and stole multiple Christmas presents, according to a police report. The woman told police that she noticed the Delphos Avenue home’s garage was partially open around 9:30 a.m. Monday. When she checked the garage, she saw that Christmas presents she was keeping in there were missing. The...
12 Days of Cheese starts at area grocery store: You won’t believe the 11th day
12 Days of Cheese starts at area grocery store: You won’t believe the 11th day

Whole Foods Market on Wednesday will kick off its 12 Days of Cheese. Every day starting Wednesday, the retailer will have a new cheese priced 50 percent off. Amazon Prime members will also get another 10 percent off the sale price. “From funky to mild, creamy to crumbly, these cheeses aren’t just any cheeses; we searched the world to find...
More Stories