James R. Benn
is the author of the Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Series. Born in 1949, Benn lives in Connecticut with his wife Deborah Mandel, a psychotherapist.
The fictional character Billy Boyle comes from an Irish-American family in Boston with Irish Republican leanings, providing a counterpoint to the traditional war story. The Boyle clan is anti-English because of their Irish heritage, and Billy's belief system is challenged as he goes to war on the side of the British.
The first novel in the series, Billy Boyle
, was published by Soho Press in 2006. The title character is a military detective on the staff of General Dwight David Eisenhower, and is charged with investigating crimes which threaten the war effort. Billy Boyle was short-listed for the Dilys Award.
The second book in the series, The First Wave
(2007), took place during the invasion of French Northwest Africa in Operation Torch.
The third, Blood Alone
, featured an amnesiac Billy Boyle during the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky.
The fourth book in the series, Evil For Evi
l, takes on this conflict directly as Billy Boyle is sent to Northern Ireland to investigate the theft of weapons from an army base. The following review highlights this plot development.
"A twisting, turning plot drives Benn’s gripping fourth WWII mystery to feature Lt. Billy Boyle . . . As an Irish-American whose family is sympathetic to the Republican cause, Billy struggles to remain impartial as he investigates the various factions on both sides of the Catholic-Protestant divide. Benn offers no easy answers in this rich mix of Irish history and wartime intrigue."...Publishers Weekly
The fifth title in the series, Rag And Bone
(September 2010) deals with the impact of the revelations concerning the Katyn Forest Massacre on the Allies, as a Soviet official is found murdered in London.
Image:BillyBoyle.jpg|Billy Boyle cover artImage:Rag&Bone.jpg|Rag And Bone cover art