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The First Wave

A Billy Boyle, World War II Mystery by James R. Benn

The First Wave by James R. Benn

Review: Billy Boyle lands on the shores of Algeria during the Allied invasion and finds himself investigating black market murders in The First Wave, the second mystery in this series by James R. Benn.

Lt. Billy Boyle is a third-generation cop from Boston who is currently serving as a military investigator under Maj. Sam Harding in the US Army in 1942. Harding is assigned to liberate Algeria from the Vichy Regime, a client state of Nazi Germany, and Billy accompanies him on the first boat to land on the shores of the African nation. Setting up office in a base hospital, the officers are faced with a number of immediate non-combat problems. A rebel group has captured a group of college students who were in Algeria to protest the war and medical supplies are being stolen and sold on the black market which may also be linked to the murders of several soldiers. Billy's assignment is to find the location of the rebel group as well as to shut down the black market before anyone else is killed.

The combination of fact and fiction is often a compelling mix, especially in a mystery. As Billy is part of The First Wave to land on Algeria, he wonders if the French will regard the Americans as invaders or liberators. Historically accurate, this conflict contributes to the suspense of the story and, not coincidentally, adds to the list of suspects. Who can Billy trust in this occupied foreign land?

Billy goes about his assignment with a positive attitude and good humor despite being knocked around a bit. He's a very well drawn character. The mystery here is cleverly conceived with a number of unexpected twists and turns in a multi-faceted plot.

Despite the striking and colorful book cover, The First Wave feels more like a classic noir-ish WWII suspense thriller. Billy's escapades in Algeria are an exciting addition to this well-written series.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The First Wave.

Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided a copy of The First Wave for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …

Mystery Book Review: Blood Alone by James R. BennBlood Alone
Soho Press (Hardcover), September 2008
ISBN-13: 9781569475164; ISBN-10: 1569475164

Location(s) referenced in The First Wave: Algeria

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The First Wave by James R. Benn

The First Wave by A Billy Boyle, World War II Mystery

Publisher: Soho Press
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-471-6
Publication Date:
List Price: $24.00

Buy the Book (purchase options)

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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews

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