Billy Boyle

Written by James R. Benn
Review by Nicole Leclerc

Barely promoted to detective in his native Boston, William ‘Billy’ Boyd is sent to England to work with his ‘uncle’ Ike Eisenhower. It is June 1942, and World War II rages on. Billy’s mission is to uncover a spy within the Norwegian government in exile. When one of the King of Norway’s advisors is found dead, he sets out to find the killer, aided by a Polish baron and a beautiful British Navy officer. While the mystery is satisfyingly complex, captivating, and filled with action and twists, this is mainly the story of a young lad who emerges from the protective network of a Boston Irish family into the harsh realities of an England worn out by three years of war. Through the well-defined people he meets, the receptions he gets as a Yank, his confrontation with people forced from their country, and the extraordinary events he is forced to live through, Billy goes from being a disarmingly naïve to a realistically mature man. Benn is to be commended for having written such a multilayered, balanced and well-crafted first book. It is comforting to know that more are in the offing.