Tony's Reviews > Billy Boyle
Billy Boyle (Billy Boyle World War II, #1)
by James R. Benn
by James R. Benn
Benn, James R. BILLY BOYLE. (2006). **. This is the first novel in the series featuring Billy Boyle. The others, so far, include “The First Wave,” “Blood Alone,” and “Evil For Evil.” The author is a librarian for a school system in Hartford, and I first came across him at the recent Bouchercon convention. He was on a panel called “War Noir.” It is obvious that he is a WW II maven and that his facts surrounding his fiction are as true as he can make them. The hero, Billy Boyle, is a young detective policeman in South Boston. He has made detective in only three years, mostly because of the support of his father – also a cop – and the rest of the predominantly Irish force that existed at the time. After Pearl Harbor, he knew he was going to be drafted eventually, so he enlisted. With the help of his family, he got an assignment to be on the staff of his mother’s second cousin’s husband, Uncle Ike. Turns out that Uncle Ike was General Eisenhower, and Billy is shipped (flown) off to England to meet his new boss. Ike wants him to be his personal investigator, or, as in this novel, spy catcher. Boyle’s first assignment is to smoke out a suspected spy in the Norwegian headquarters of the government in exile. Off he goes to Beardsley Hall, along with an American major and a beautiful young WREN. He’s not there long when the first murder occurs. Using his scant experience as a policeman, Billy has to solve the murder and still come up with the spy in the ointment. The novel is well written, but I couldn’t come across any spark of suspense or tension in the narrative. Billy is also kind of a cultural dodo, having never been out of South Boston in his life. There’s lots of “Gees,” and “Gee Whizz,” kinds of expressions dropping out of his mouth. There are also a lot of then current slang expressions that he uses and has to continually explain to his Brit counterparts. Although written in an acceptable style, this novel never really caught my interest, and I found that reading on became more and more of a chore. I think I’ll skip the rest of this series. Sorry. It’s not my cup of tea – or coffee.
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