RUIN VALUE by J. Sydney Jones


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At the tail end of World War II, a serial killer cuts a bloody swath through the streets of Nuremberg, with Allied soldiers as his victims.

Nathan Morgan, a captain in the U.S. Volunteers Army in Germany and a hard-boiled detective back home, is dealing with the anarchy that the abrupt end of the war has brought and itching to get home when Soviet corporal Sasha Orlov dies from multiple slashes to the throat. Among the criminal prisoners in Jones' charge is hard-bitten Beck, who also has a law enforcement background. He surprises Morgan by speaking English and impresses him with his grit. When Intelligence needs a tough and resourceful operative, duty calls. Morgan goes to London, where he has a random but crackling encounter with flashy Kate, then back to Nuremberg, where Orlov's killer is striking again and again with brutality and fetishistic precision. One of his victims is Beck's fellow prisoner Rollo, who'd recently been hatching a dangerous escape plan. Gen. "Wild Bill" Donovan, who'll later be part of the Nuremberg prosecution team, assigns Morgan to ferret out the killer, and Morgan assembles his own detective squad, enlisting Beck as a sidekick. A coded message provides the first solid clue in the case, which is tied to the burgeoning black market. When Morgan and Kate cross paths again, the attraction remains, but now there's also something mysterious about her.

This departure from Jones' popular turn-of-the-century Vienna mysteries (The Keeper of Hands, 2013, etc.) boasts equally close attention to historical detail and a large cast of vividly depicted characters.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4804-2691-7
Page count: 302pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2013


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