MYSTERY

When Hell Struck Twelve

Soho Crime. (Billy Boyle World War II, Bk. 14). Sept. 2019. 360p. ISBN 9781616959630. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616959647. M
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It’s August 1944. Working for General Eisenhower under the command of Colonel Harding, Captain Billy Boyle is involved in organizing a phony strategy session with various factions of the French Resistance. The ruse is twofold—flush out a French traitor and deceive the Nazis regarding Allied movements toward Paris. During the planned confusion of a fake mortar attack, the map containing the bogus plan is stolen. Boyle and his Polish companion, Kaz, are sent to chase down the double agent, but discovering the mutilated body of their suspect, they realize they’ve been after the wrong man. Various clues and chance encounters send them into the streets of Paris in pursuit of the spy-turned-murderer.
VERDICT 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.

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