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LEP.CO.UK - Book review: The Devouring by James R. Benn

“In the twelfth instalment of James R. Benn’s much-loved wartime mystery series, the inimitable military sleuth Billy Boyle is transported to Switzerland to investigate a murder, monitor dubious bankers and a profiteering Gestapo agent, and help expose the illegal gold transactions coming out of Germany.

Benn’s long-running historical mystery series set during the Second World War has been entertaining world audiences since 2006. Always full of action, murder, suspense, espionage and mystery, the adventures of the Boston detective-turned-army investigator continually address fresh themes and find the charismatic Boyle in different, wide-ranging locations, confronted with a new set of challenges. Incredibly, given that The Devouring marks Boyle’s twelfth outing, you never get that sense of déjà vu.

Previously, Boyle was on assignment in France, the night before the Allied invasion of Normandy, delivering a radio and weapons to the French Resistance and collecting a vital soldier. Here, Benn postpones focusing on D-Day to send Boyle and his sidekick, Lieutenant Piotr ‘Kaz’ Kazimierz, to Switzerland to help Office of Strategic Services (OSS) chief Allen Dulles with Operation Safehaven, an Anglo-American programme to locate and seize Nazi assets when the war is over.

Alas, their mission doesn’t quite go to plan, getting off to a bumpy start the moment they journey through south-eastern France, headed for the Swiss border. The hair-raising flight over the Rhone River near Lyon, taking them past a nearby Luftwaffe airfield, finds tracer bullets ‘dancing against the darkness in graceful, deadly arcs,’ ripping into the wing of their Lysander aircraft and sending them into a fatal spin.

The Devouring is another compelling Billy Boyle mystery. Well-plotted and full of intense action, intrigue and historical insight, James R. Benn’ series shows no signs of slowing down.”

My review of The Devouring (A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery) by James R. Benn is published today in the Lancashire Evening Post, and syndicated to 25 newspapers across the UK.

Read the review here.