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Blood Alone : A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery
Billy Boyle must contact the head of the Sicilian Mafia to enlist his cooperation with the Allies and thwart a murderous band of counterfeiters of Army scrip. Despite a concussion resulting in temporary amnesia, he carries out his dangerous mission.
Characterization and atmosphere carry Benn's third WWII mystery (after 2007's The First Wave), a convincing blend of fact and fiction. As part of the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, Billy Boyle, a freewheeling Boston cop in civilian life now working as special investigator for General Eisenhower, bears a message from the real-life Lucky Luciano to the head of the Sicilian Mafia asking that he order local soldiers to stop fighting American troops. Unfortunately, the chaos of warfare interferes with Billy's mission, as does another mobster out to exploit the situation for money who plots to have Billy killed-while Billy is wounded and suffering from amnesia. The hero's gradual rediscovery of his memories lets him question what kind of person he is, in particular whether he's more than a brutal killer. Benn also does a fine job of depicting a dusty, poverty-stricken Sicily, where warm loyalty is the reverse side of pitiless vendetta. (Sept.)
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August 31, 2009
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