Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Evil for Evil-James R. Benn

Evil for Evil
James R. Benn
Soho, Aug 2009, $25.00
ISBN 9781569475935

In 1943 former Boston police officer Army Lieutenant Billy Boyle works on the staff of his uncle by marriage to General Dwight Eisenhower. He is assigned to look into a damaging raid of an American army depot in Northern Ireland in which thieves stole 50 Browning automatic rifles plus 200,000 rounds of ammunition; the brass fears IRA activity using the stolen weapons and the encouragement of the Nazis to disrupt the allies especially Great Britain.

Not too far from the depot, the assassinated corpse of an IRA agent is found; in his hand is a pound note which signifies he was killed for being an informer. While Billy makes his official inquiry looking for a German-IRA connection, he fears he is biased as he and his family support the Republican position even as both sides of the religious divide threaten his investigation.

The latest Billy Boyle WWII mystery (see THE FIRST WAVE and BLOOD ALONE) is a terrific tale of intrigue as the hero struggles with his known personal bias and the suspicion from both sides of the Irish divide. Still Billy is an ethical protagonist who works the case one clue at a time while receiving no cooperation from his superiors and the locals. James R. Benn provides a superb historical whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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