The First Wave


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About the Author

James R. Benn is the author of the Billy Boyle World War II mysteries. The debut, Billy Boyle, was named one of five top mysteries of 2006 by Book Sense and was a Dilys Award nominee. A Blind Goddess was longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and The Rest Is Silence was a Barry Award nominee. A librarian for many years, Benn lives in Connecticut with his wife, Deborah Mandel.


Take a young Irish cop. Turn him into a lieutenant on Eisenhower's personal staff-one charged with being "Ike's investigator." Set him ashore on the coast of French North Africa along with the first wave of invading American troops. And watch the mayhem, mystery, and murder that are bound to follow. Corrupt Vichy French officers steal a shipment of American penicillin, killing a supply sergeant in the process. Benn follows up his first World War II mystery (Billy Boyle) with another danger-filled episode and delivers a cross-genre tale that is at once spy story, soldier story, and hard-Boyled detective. Bullets, babes, and bombs give Billy Boyle a bad time before he solves the case, but you'll have a good time reading about it. Highly recommended for all mystery collections.-Ken St. Andre, Phoenix P.L. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

In Benn's high-spirited second WWII mystery (after 2006's Billy Boyle), tough, earthy Boston cop turned army lieutenant Boyle hunkers down in a landing craft during the gripping first-wave attack to liberate Algeria in 1942. Once ashore, Boyle sets out on an intelligence mission to sort out the power struggle among Vichy French traitors, free French forces and German occupiers. Boyle is soon taken into custody and catches a glimpse of his ex-girlfriend Diana, a British spy on a similar mission. He returns to friendly territory in time to find that a sergeant's throat has been cut and vital morphine and penicillin supplies stolen. The enormous multinational cast makes it hard to determine a likely suspect, especially once Boyle uncovers a drug-smuggling network, American officers running poker parties and further murders of enlisted men, all somehow tied to a secret coded notebook. Historical figures like Adm. Jean Darlan give this lively story a bit of period flair. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-This sequel to Billy Boyle (Soho, 2006) is as full of action, murder, espionage, and romance as the first book. Young Billy is an engaging Irish-American cop from Boston who somehow manages to hold his own against seemingly insurmountable odds. Last time he was in England helping Uncle Ike (known to others as General Eisenhower) solve some thorny spy and murder business, and now he is with the first wave of Allied forces sent to liberate Algeria. The landing on the beach goes well, but then things get mysterious in a hurry. Murders occur, the Vichy commanders act in inexplicable ways, and the world's first field supply of a top-secret new miracle drug called penicillin goes missing. Billy had little more than basic training as a police detective before the war started, but once again he is called upon to untangle a web fraught with danger in every direction. Often winging it, and relying heavily on the two or three others he can trust, as well as a full helping of good luck, Billy manages to live up to the expectations of Uncle Ike. Some readers may find the love angle and the humble heroism a bit too melodramatic, and the identity of the evildoers too predicable, but Benn does manage to build the suspense and manipulate the historical detail with impressive skill. The story moves quickly, is easy to follow, and offers lots of intriguing information about the war in Algeria. Most importantly, though, the main characters have enough depth and complexity to hold readers' interest and concern.-Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Praise for The First Wave

"Another rousing adventure . . . Once again the period details are spot-on and Billy, who doesn't pretend to be anything but what he is, continues to make a thoroughly engaging detective."
-The Denver Post

"What a great read, full of action, humor and heart . . . Equal parts spy thriller, war story and murder mystery, with a dollop of romance that's never sweet, this is just a terrific book. More please!"
-Louise Penny

"A rattling good read."
-Rhys Bowen

"A solid follow up to Benn's first novel . . . [I] look forward to his next."
-Robert B. Parker

"Benn follows up his first World War II mystery (Billy Boyle) with another danger-filled episode and delivers a cross-genre tale that is at once spy story, soldier story, and hard-Boyled detective."
-Library Journal, Starred Review

"Certain to appeal to WWII fiction fans."

"Part Indiana Jones derring-do and part grown-up adventure novel with spies, black marketers, loyal and dastardly French, and the reliably evil Nazis. If you like World War II historical crime novels, you'll love this one."
-Mystery Scene

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