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A Mortal Terror

A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery
A Mortal Terror: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery. Soho Crime. Sept. 2011. c.354p. ISBN 9781569479940. $25. M
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War has taken its toll on First Lt. Billy Boyle, and he's not alone in his misery. It's January 1944, and he's trying to figure out why he has been dispatched to Naples in his sixth outing (after Rag and Bone). If you're new to the series, Billy, a police detective back home, works for his Uncle Ike (yes, that Ike) as a military private investigator. Simply put, the general trusts Billy because he's family. In this captivating episode, a serial killer from the inside (dubbed the Red Heart Killer because he leaves playing cards on his victims) is targeting Allied officers, moving systematically up the ranks, and it's getting pretty tense in the officers' quarters. Billy is under the gun to find the madman before he runs out of cards.
VERDICT 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.

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