The Dead Don’t Bleed

Written by David Krugler
Review by Kristina Blank Makansi

“Live free, and the rest will follow.” That was the mantra that Liv, Lieutenant Junior Grade Voight’s sometime-girlfriend, lived by. But Voight lived by a different mantra. As an investigator in the Office of Naval Intelligence, he was bound by duty and honor. With the end of the war in sight, much of work at the ONI had turned toward monitoring Soviet activity, and when signals intelligence showed a spike in traffic between Moscow and the Soviet embassy and a fellow officer ends up dead in a back alley of Washington DC, Voight is duty bound to investigate. But when he goes undercover to infiltrate a communist organization, his priorities and his operation are compromised when he tries to live a double life—first as Voight so he can still see Liv, and second as Ted Barston, a Soviet sympathizer who sweet-talks his way into another woman’s bed. As the investigation unfolds and his undercover life becomes more complicated, Voight must keep one step ahead of the Soviets’ unraveling plan to steal the secrets of America’s nuclear program—and one step ahead of his own dark secrets.

David Krugler does an excellent job of evoking a Washington, DC mired in early Cold War paranoia, where suspicions ran high and traitors lurked around every corner. In a web of deception and deeply buried secrets, he paints a picture of a man with conflicting loyalties at war with himself. With an unexpected twist at the end, The Dead Don’t Bleed is a satisfying thriller I can easily imagine on the big screen.