Praise for the Billy Boyle series:
“The brash kid from Southie is still open, direct and fearless in his manner (and in his wonderfully loose-jointed use of the English language) and in no danger of losing his cover as a ‘happy-go-lucky Yank.’ But even amid the excitement of the spirited wartime storytelling, Benn allows Boyle’s experiences to change him in ways both subtle and dramatic.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“Thoroughly enjoyable.”—The Seattle Times
“This series brings WWII alive.”—Deadly Pleasures
“Great fun. Benn knows his war history.”—The Globe and Mail
“Kudos to author Benn . . . and here’s hoping that Billy will continue to make his way through his Uncle Ike’s world for many titles to come.”—Bookslut.com
Billy Boyle awakens in a field hospital in Sicily with amnesia. In his pocket is a yellow silk handkerchief embroidered with the initial L. Gradually he remembers: he has been sent ashore in advance of the troops with this token from Lucky Luciano to contact the head of the Sicilian Mafia. But he must also thwart a murderous band of counterfeiters of Army scrip led by Vito Genovese.
James R. Benn is the author of Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery, selected by Book Sense as one of the top five mysteries of 2006 and nominated for a Dilys Award. The First Wave was a Book Sense Notable title. Benn is a librarian and lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.
Characterization and atmosphere carry Benn's third WWII mystery (after 2007's The First Wave), a convincing blend of fact and fiction. As part of the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Billy Boyle, a freewheeling Boston cop in civilian life now working as special investigator for General Eisenhower, bears a message from the real-life Lucky Luciano to the head of the Sicilian Mafia asking that he order local soldiers to stop fighting American troops. Unfortunately, the chaos of warfare interferes with Billy's mission, as does another mobster out to exploit the situation for money who plots to have Billy killed while Billy is wounded and suffering from amnesia. The hero's gradual rediscovery of his memories lets him question what kind of person he is, in particular whether he's more than a brutal killer. Benn also does a fine job of depicting a dusty, poverty-stricken Sicily, where warm loyalty is the reverse side of pitiless vendetta.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Though this work is a novel, it was chock full of real historical events and behind-the-scenes military operations of WWII. Who new there was such a thing as Occupation Currency and that it was used to pay the soldiers in the middle of a war? The cast of characters, both historical and fictional, is many and intricate, so requires some concentration to keep track. A very intriguing read.