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BILLY BOYLE

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Full Name: Billy Boyle
Nationality: American
Organization: U.S. Army
Occupation Military - Officer

Creator: James R. Benn
Time Span: 2006 - 2023

ABOUT THE SERIES

Billy Boyle is a police detective.

He is definitely not a spy and would not want to be one. He is pleased to be what he is which is a newly promoted detective with the Boston Police Department. Well, he was until he gets called to serve in the Second World War. He was not thrilled with that development, not because he was unpatriotic but because it certainly meant having to leave Boston. In truth, he seldom left his turf of South Boston if he could avoid it, let alone the country. Luckily he was assured that 'the fix was in' and he would be spending his service time helping out as a staff officer at the War Department in D.C.

Boyle is honest with us in another way when he admits that while he knows he will be pretty good at being a detective, the exam to pass was a bear because he was 'no scholar'. He was not at all upset when "a few sheets from the test sort of found their way into his locker a couple of days before the exam". And having an uncle on the promotions board did not hurt. Boyle's skill at solving cases came to him naturally aided by the fact that his father was a very experienced homicide detective and Boyle had grown up watching him figure things out methodically.

Another thing that Boyle reveals is that he and his immediate family were not only proud Boston Irish, they were ultra proud Irish, period, strong supporters of the IRA and all that and the thought of having to go into actual battle on behalf of the English - well, not going to happen, was Boyle's attitude. Imagine then the surprise and 'annoyance' he felt when he learned his cushy job in DC working for one distant uncle was switched to working in London for another distant uncle. Uncle Ike. As in General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of the European Theater.

By the way, this was no clerical error or military snafu. As he explains, "I love my mom but I had to think that maybe this was not one of her best ideas".

So we have Billy Boyle living in England and working on behalf of an uncle he had met a few times in the past but was not especially close to. And we have a Boyle who has no idea what is expected of him since he was not really a soldier, he was a police detective.

That is when Uncle Ike reveals his need for someone like Boyle and it was both simple and complex. As huge numbers of Americans were being prepared for shipment to Europe to fight the Axis, there were certain to be a fair number of bad apples in the mix, men who would see an opportunity to take advantage of things like the black market and smuggling, not to mention theft and even the occasional murder. And often it would far better for everyone's morale if these people were caught and dealt with out of the limelight; punishment fitting the crime and all but without publicity. That's where a detective someone like Boyle would come in, someone who could not only solve a mystery but also make a problem go away.

Uncle Ike was pretty smart in his predictions but not even he would have imagined how extensive the work his nephew would get involved with. Smugglers and black marketeers, yes. Thieves and even murderers, yes. But also traitors and turncoats and foreign spies and rogue operatives. Toss in angry and vengeful Resistance and Partisan members. Boyle would need all of his South Boston cop instincts to stay alive.

BOOKS

Number of Books:18
First Appearance:2006
Last Appearance:2023

1 Billy Boyle Billy Boyle
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2006

Billy Boyle is just recently attached to Uncle Ike's HQ when he is sent to where the exiled Norwegian government is in residence. It is thought there is a German spy in the mix and Boyle's task is to root him out. Boyle is worried that his meager experience as a detective will not be enough.
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2 The First Wave The First Wave
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2007

Billy Boyle is sent toe Algeria to represent Uncle Ike as the French Vichy prepares to surrender that territory. Dissension among the various interested parties and a rash of black market operations imperil the proceedings, as does the disappearance of the British female spy that Boyle is in love with.
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3 Blood Alone Blood Alone
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2008

On a mission to Sicily to coordinate efforts between the invading Allies and the resident Sicilian Mafia, carrying with him a silk handkerchief embroidered with the initil L for Lucky Luciano, Billy Boyle awakens in a field hospital with no memory of who he is or why he is on that island.
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4 Evil For Evil Evil For Evil
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2009

The theft of 50 Browning Automatic Rifles from a US Army base in Northern Ireland is suspected of being by the IRA in an effort to work with Germany against the Allies. Uncle Ike sends Billy Boyle with his Boston-Irish upbringing and pro-IRA sympathies to recover the weapons.
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5 Rag and Bone Rag and Bone
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2010

The murder of a Russian security officer in the build-up to D-Day prompts Uncle Ike to send Billy Boyle to solve the case. The deceased had had run-ins with the large Polish contingent stationed nearby and chief among the suspects is Boyle's good friend, Kaz.
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6 A Mortal Terror A Mortal Terror
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2011

In his career, Billy Boyle has solved several murders but now he is faced with his first serial killer and it looks like this murderer has an agenda. In Italy, two different American soldiers were killed in two different ways in two different locations but both on the same day and both with a single playing card on their dead bodies.
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7 Death's Door Death's Door
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2012

When his girl friend, British agent Diana Seaton, goes missing while working undercover at the Vatican, Billy Boyle demands he be put on the investigation. He must also look into the murder of an American monsignor at the Death's Door, one of the entrances to Saint Peter's Basilica, and the head of the OSS, Wild Bill Donovan, wants answers.
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8 A Blind Goddess A Blind Goddess
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2013

Just back in England in March of 1944, Billy Boyle was hoping for some vacation time but instead he finds himself investigating two cases. The one closes to home is helping his boyhood friend, 'Tree' Jackson, a black tank sergeant, prove one of that man's soldiers is not guilty of a crime for which he is about to be hung.
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9 The Rest Is Silence The Rest Is Silence
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2014

An unidentified dead body washes up on the Devonshire coast near where Operation Tiger, the rehearsal for the upcoming invasion, is going on. As Billy Boyle and his partner Kaz seem to be finding a solution, a training incident leaves a lot more bodies to take care of.
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10 The White Ghost The White Ghost
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2015

In a bit of a flashback, this tells of a case in 1943 when Billy Boyle is sent to the Solomon Islands by a special request from powerful Joe Kennedy to solve a murder mystery in which PT skipper Jack Kennedy is one of the suspects.
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11 Blue Madonna Blue Madonna
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2016

The date is May, 1944. Captain Billy Boyle finds himself the one being investigated as he is charged with dealing in the black market. Convicted, he is reduced to the rank of private and faces hard labor if he does not agree to take part in a suicide mission. Two pilots using the underground escape system in France. Boyle must follow the same route to find where the murderous traitor is along that chain.
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12 The Devouring The Devouring
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2017

Billy Boyle and his partner Kaz are off to Switzerland to look into the murder of a Swiss banker who was working with the OSS. This killing is causing trouble in the creation of a pact to stop Nazi wealth from being smuggled away. The OSS is especially earnest to make sure that none of the blame touches it.
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13 Solemn Graves Solemn Graves
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2018

In July, 1944, one month after D-Day, Billy Boyle and Kaz are investigating a double murder near the front lines in Normandy. An American officer and a member of the French Resistance were found slaid in a manor house. Both the intelligence groups and the Resistance are loathe to explain what the two were doing there, making solving their murders so much more difficult.
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14 When Hell Struck Twelve When Hell Struck Twelve
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2019

It is August, 1944. Army detective Billy Boyle is hunting a French traitor, codenamed Atlantik, who is delivering classified Allied plans to German leaders. This is a bit complicated because Atlantik is purposefully leaking disinformation as the Allied leader want but the Resistance want him for the likely cause of many deaths in their ranks.
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15 The Red Horse The Red Horse
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2020

Shortly after Paris is liberated, both Billy Boyle and Kaz are in a convalescent hospital - Kaz from having a heart condition and Boyle for exhaustion and excessive drug use. That is when they hear that Boyle's love, Diana Seaton, has been sent to a Nazi concentration camp and Kaz's sister, working with the Polish underground, has been captured. Complicating their desire to go help is a need to solve a murder of a British intelligence officer in the same hospital.
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16 Road of Bones Road of Bones
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2021

It is September 1944. Tensions between the US and USSR are growing worse and the discovery of two dead intelligence officers in the Ukraine, one American and one Soviet, just makes things worse. Billy Boyle is sent to investigate but he must work with a KGB agent who has his own agenda.
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17 From The Shadows From The Shadows
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2022

It is late 1944. Billy Boyle is working with Resistance forces to collect data on Vichy officials and known collaborators. Working with them is an SOE officer who has made a lot of enemies in the Resistance in a previous mission.
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18 Proud Sorrows Proud Sorrows
Written by James R. Benn
Copyright: 2023

November 1944: Billy Boyle is on leave at the country estate of Sir Richard Seaton, the father of Billy’s British lover, Diana. Billy’s rest "is cut short when a crashed German bomber resurfaces off the coast with the corpse of a British officer in the pilot seat. The nearby village of Slewford hosts a top-secret military intelligence operation, home to high-ranking German POWs, and so the crash is a matter of national security. Billy is assigned by the commander of the POW facility to investigate. After the plane is discovered, a local villager is murdered—and suddenly what had appeared to be a failed enemy military operation takes on an even more sinister aspect. All Billy’s ex-Boston cop instincts are put to the test as he interviews the grieving, angry, and conniving citizens of this idyllic English country village in search of the truth."
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MY COMMENTS

Okay, here is an embarrassing confession. We have a darn good mystery/spy series which has been going on since 2006 and I have only recently discovered it.

And I am the self-described expert in spy series. Yikes squared! (I just made that up)

But just because I am woefully late to the party, I do come with plaudits as this is a very well-crafted and executed series of whodunnits with enough espionage touches to more than qualify for membership here.

The twist of having Boyle's uncle be Ike Eisenhower was simply genius - and this is from a fellow who regularly pooh-pooh's name dropping. Do yourself a solid and check out this series.


GRADE

My Grade: A-

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