Benn, James R

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When Hell Struck Twelve

The action starts on the first page and doesn’t slow down, unfortunately sacrificing backstory in the process. Readers of World War II fiction and those who enjoy plot-driven stories will find much to love; however, Benn assumes a level of war knowledge that might leave some readers frustrated and confused. Purchase where previous volumes circulate, but new readers should start with the first in the series, Billy Boyle.

The Devouring: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

The theme of Swiss complicity with the Nazis and their profiteering is absorbing and should appeal to historical fiction fans, mystery readers, and military buffs. Read-alikes include Martin Limón's fast-paced "Sueño and Bascom" military mysteries, and J. Robert Janes's "St-Cyr and Kohler" series set in occupied France.

The Rest Is Silence: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

With its very smooth mix of mystery and historical references (with a dash of Downton Abbey), just about everybody will find something of interest in this fizzy retro cocktail.

A Blind Goddess: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

Elaborately plotted, Benn's eighth entry in the series (after Death's Door) has his World War II sleuth investigating a deplorable side of U.S. military history. His use of an ongoing narrative throughout the book to explain Billy and Tree's backstory is particularly well done.


Fans of the Boyle books are likely to be disappointed.

Death's Door: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

Benn has obviously done his research; the authentic details of Roman life during wartime add to the tension without overloading the reader. A couple of cameos by real historical figures also are handled well. In addition to series fans, this will appeal to readers who enjoy mysteries and thrillers with a dramatic setting such as the Second World War. [See Prepub Alert, 7/5/12.]

A Mortal Terror

Jump right in with this winner of a historical detective entry; don't worry if you haven't read all the others (I hadn't). Benn does a superb job of simultaneously capturing the personal anguish of war and creating a splendid adventure novel.

Rag and Bone

Mystery fans will enjoy Boyle's investigative adventures, and readers of World War II historical fiction will savor the gritty glimpse of life in battered wartime London. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 4/1/10.]

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