By: James R. Benn
Rated 4.5 Stars
This is a mystery series that is right up my alley. I will be reading more of these books.
Billy Boyle is the youngest member of the Boyle clan in the Boston Police Department. A tightly knit Irish family, their fierce loyalties extend little beyond each other, Ireland, and the police force where Billy’s father and uncles also serve. The year is 1941, and they have paved the way for Billy’s promotion to Detective through the time-honored traditions of politics and patronage. Then World War II breaks out. The family’s political connections secure Billy a commission and post with a distant relative of Mrs. Boyle’s, a general serving with the War Plans Department in Washington D.C. where Billy is to safely sit out the war. Unfortunately for the Boyles, that unknown general is Dwight David Eisenhower, who whisks Billy off to England when he is appointed Commander of U.S. forces in Europe . This is definitely not what Billy expected, nor is really qualified for. He must rely on his native wits to keep himself alive and avoid humiliating his family as he conducts his first investigation into the death of an official of the Norwegian government in exile.
Billy Boyle tells the story of the beginning of Billy’s transformation from a self-centered wise guy interested only in his own survival, to a reluctantly heroic figure. Typically American, Billy never loses his disdain for authority or the cynicism of a city cop as he slowly grows into his role as Ike’s secret investigator. The climatic scene of the story takes place in Nordland, along the rocky coastline and the rugged mountains of this northern-most province in Norway. Nordland, the land of legends, a distant place to which a hero must journey to seek the truth, and which reveals to him his true self, changing him forever. It is here, where according to the Norse legends, ‘by a strand of corpses…heavy streams must be waded through by breakers of pledges and murderers’.