Books for Veterans Day: 14th Billy Boyle Mystery Scores A Big Hit
Acclaimed Novelist James Benn delivers another riveting thriller in ‘When Hell Struck Twelve’’
By Don Church and Tony
Schillaci, Critics On The Aisle, Out and Travelin’
It’s August 1944. US Army detective Billy Boyle and Lieutenant Kazimierz are ordered to infiltrate Nazi-occupied Paristo track down a French Resistance traitor, code-named Atlantik,
who is delivering classified Allied plans to German leaders in occupied Paris. The Resistance is also hot on the traitor’s trail and out for blood, after Atlantik’s previous betrayals led to the death of many of their members. But the plans Atlantik
carries were leaked on purpose, a ruse devised to obscure the Allied army’s real intentions to bypass Paris in a race to the German border.
This 14th volume of Billy Boyle’s adventures is vastly enriched as Billy, Kaz, Big Mike and Colonel Harding’s personalities and relationships with each other reveal the wear and tear on servicemen
on and behind enemy lines. Benn’s portrayal of the array of competing Resistance groups, whose bullets, Billy learns, kill you just as dead as the Germans’ more powerful weaponry, adds a fascinating dimension to this exciting story of the
sometimes-deadly chaos that accompanied the liberation of Paris.
Billy and Kaz are assigned to the Resistance with orders to not let them capture the traitor: the deception campaign is too important. Playing a delicate game, the chase must be close
enough to spur the traitor on and visible enough to insure the Germans trust Atlantik. The outcome of the war may well depend on it.
As with all of Benn’s novels, “When Hell Strikes Twelve” is a tribute to American and allied
service men and women. Each book includes well-researched historic fact to greatly heighten his skillful blend of fictional characters with real-life heroes such as generals Eisenhower, Patton and PT-boat Lieutenant JFK. Jim
Benn says "I was fortunate to have talked at length with 92-year-old Ted Cummings, who gave me a lot of insight for my books. It's the veterans like him who contribute realism to the Billy Boyle stories."
James R. Benn’s many literary awards,
nominations, media reviews and praise from peers and veterans include Billy Boyle being named one of five top mysteries of 2006 by Book Sense, Dilys Award nomination, Starred Reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, BookPage, Housatonic Book Review,
a finalist for the prestigious Dublin Literary Award and a Macavity Award nominee. And continued acclaim from major newspapers, magazines, web book critics and renowned novelists – Bestselling author Lee Child, said, “Billy Boyle gets better and
better.” And The New York Times Book Review calls Benn's novels "Spirited wartime storytelling.”