Billy Boyle

Billy Boyle tells the story of the start 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’.


"The foggy seas and echoing cannons of World War II have long lured mystery writers. Against this backdrop, Ken Follett and John le Carre built their reputations....James Benn conjures up the intensity, paranoia, strength and sadness that marked the era and secures his own standing in the genre."

- Hartford Courant, October 29, 2006

"If you enjoy World War II mysteries...you'll love this book. It's a whodunit, a spy story and a thriller all rolled into one. Told in a crisp, breezy first-person narrative, Billy Boyle makes excellent use of Benn's extensive research into time and place. The realistic dialogue pulls you even further into the action. All in all, this is one of the best books I've read this year."

- Mystery Scene magazine, Fall 2006

"Deftly plotted and beautifully written...it's rich in historical detail; it's a thrilling mystery; and the characters are fully realized, each with their own plot line and back story."

- Crime Spree Magazine, Fall/​Winter 2006

Selected Works

Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Series
From the Mysterious Review, on Death's Door: "The 'Billy Boyle, World War II' mysteries are among the most consistently well written and researched crime novels published today, and are highly recommended."
"Taut pacing and great characters." --Crimespree Magazine
"An utterly splendid novel."
--Cornelia Read
"James Benn is a wonderful writer, and Blood Alone is terrific."
--Joseph Finder
"A solid follow up to Benn's first novel, The First Wave makes me look forward to his next."
--Robert B. Parker
"This book has got it all - an instant classic." --Lee Child. "Benn's novel flashes through the mind like celluloid images of Leslie Howard, Greer Garson and Peter Lorre" --The Guardian
"A thrilling, fast-paced book..." Mystery Scene Magazine.

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