Blood Alone (Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Series #3)

Blood Alone (Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Series #3)

4.2 134
by James R. Benn
     
 

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With a case of amnesia, will Billy remember who he is and what is his mission, before more people are killed?

Billy Boyle has been landed in Sicily in advance of the main Allied invasion forces. But when he awakens in a field hospital after suffering a concussion, he has amnesia. He doesn't know who he is or where he is, much less what his mission

Overview

With a case of amnesia, will Billy remember who he is and what is his mission, before more people are killed?

Billy Boyle has been landed in Sicily in advance of the main Allied invasion forces. But when he awakens in a field hospital after suffering a concussion, he has amnesia. He doesn't know who he is or where he is, much less what his mission is. His only clue is that he possesses a yellow silk handkerchief embroidered with the initial L and a lot of people seem to be eager to get their hands on this talisman.

As Billy gradually recovers his memory, he recalls that he is his "Uncle" Ike's personal investigator in the European Theater of War. Before Billy can remember the dangerous task that has been entrusted to him and do his best to carry it out, several people are murdered. Those opposing him include members of various factions of the American Mafia, as well as soldiers of the German and Italian Armies.

Billy finally remembers his name, but to truly resolve the question of his identity he must dig deep into his soul to discover what kind of man he is.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Blood Alone

“A harrowing adventure that delivers on suspense and, quite movingly, on emotional registers too.”
—Megan Abbott

“James Benn is a wonderful writer and Blood Alone is terrific. The premise is irresistible, the pacing nonstop, the prose razor sharp. Any fan of Ken Follett or Alan Furst, or anyone who enjoys reading about World War II—or just a great story—will love this book.”
—Joseph Finder

“Immediately engaging . . . Blood Alone is an intriguing blend of history and fiction, superbly crafted and paced, easily the best period mystery I’ve read in quite some time.”
BookPage

“A fast-paced mix of action, adventure, and crime solving . . . A solid series that keeps getting better.”
Booklist

“Another bracing cocktail of period action with a whodunit chaser from the increasingly authoritative Benn.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A well-engineered tale . . . Recommended.”
Crimespree

Publishers Weekly

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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Kirkus Reviews
In war-torn Sicily, a sleuthing soldier risks life and limb to crack a baffling mystery. G.I. Billy Boyle wakes up in a field hospital in Sicily, baking in the heat and struggling to remember the circumstances that landed him there. A sergeant named Rocko Walters explains how he rescued Billy from an assault by an Italian thug who escaped. It's the summer of 1943, and the countryside is crawling with invading Germans. Further questions are prevented by the arrival of gruff Colonel Gavin, who arrests Rocko, identifying him as a war profiteer, and takes Billy to headquarters. As his memory returns in dribs and drabs, Billy seizes on a name: Kaz, whom fans will remember as Billy's brash sidekick in previous adventures (The First Wave, 2007, etc.). It's a hop skip to his old cohorts and Uncle Ike (Dwight Eisenhower, though the general is only a distant cousin), who makes a cameo appearance. At length, Billy remembers the Italian Rocko referred to. His name was Roberto, and he was a rescuer, not an attacker. Billy sets out to find him but discovers he's been killed under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, Rocko is also murdered. Billy's determination to learn the truth behind both killings takes him into the heart of Sicily's complex criminal dynasty, as deadly as the encroaching German army. Another bracing cocktail of period action with a whodunit chaser from the increasingly authoritative Benn. Agent: Barbara Braun/Barbara Braun Associates

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569475959
Publisher:
Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Series:
Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Series , #3
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
200,514
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.78(h) x 0.85(d)

Meet the Author

James R. Benn is the author of ten books in the Billy Boyle series: Billy Boyle, The First Wave, Blood Alone, Evil for Evil, Rag & Bone, A Mortal Terror, Death’s Door, A Blind Goddess, The Rest Is Silence, and The White Ghost. A librarian for many years, he lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut, with his wife, Deborah Mandel.

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Blood Alone (Billy Boyle World War II Mystery Series #3) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 134 reviews.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
World War II is progressing and Boston Detective turned special investigator for Gen. Eisenhower Billy Boyle is advancing with the allied efforts. When last we saw Billy, he was recuperating in Algiers after the invasion of North Africa having rescued his beloved from her kidnappers. This volume opens with Second Lieutenant Boyle in Sicily, trying to remember: who he is where he is, how he got there and what brought him to be in a field hospital. A blow to his head, paired with a severe emotional trauma, has rendered him an amnesiac. The first third of the book is given to the struggle Billy has in regaining his memory and this is the slow part of the book. It plods from the night of the invasion, complete with Billy being commandeered to be a part of a “little known but vital battle” that proved to be pivotal to the success of the Italian campaign. It is not until well into the book that the reader, along with Billy, learns that his mission has to do with the Battalion payroll, the Mafia’s role in winning Italy and spies (there are ALWAYS spies in any war novel). Once Lt. Boyle regains his memory, the pace and action quickens dramatically as does the increase in the body count. This is a mystery set during the largest war in human history and Mr. Benn does not shy from the horrors that are part of any war. For Billy, those horrors are compiling rapidly – friends are killed, trusted associates turn out to be traitorous, the destruction is mindless and seemingly endless. Yet he stays true to his Irish Cop heritage – stubborn, tough, smart and true. He solves the mystery and “gets his man” almost. Mr. Benn is creating a series of mysteries with each book being good independently of the whole but his concept of placing them in a historical context causes them to live. The aforementioned battle, the Allied partnership with “La Costa Nostra,” the progress of the war across Europe all actually occurred. Reading these tales is like reading (selected, well edited) history with a friend as narrator. His choosing not to make war glorious nor shy from showing the its cost, even to “the winners,” gives realism and an added touch of fear to the fiction. This is not a book for children. The language is not excessive but is spoken by soldiers and criminals. The action occurs in a war zone, sometimes during battle, so the blood is plentiful and the body parts scattered. There were moments described that reminded me of the battle scenes in “Saving Private Ryan,” a movie I have been unable to watch entirely after seeing it once.
msgadget More than 1 year ago
This book is an extension of the previous two in the series. Each one has been great. Billy has a quick mind and lots of street smarts, which serve him in many precarious situations. I just wish he didn't have to get hit on the head so much! I love the history lessons from the perspective of one who has experienced it first hand. I hope the series goes more than 5 books. I'm not anywhere near ready to say good-bye to Billy. Time spent reading these books is time very well spent.
Albus84 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the Billy Boyle books. Benn is very good about giving you a feel and understanding of the setting, the times and the difficulties of war. I've gotten attached to the characters and look forward to reading the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What started out as book in between has become an obsession to read
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1943 the Allied army invades Sicily. However, General Eisenhower¿s Special Investigator Billy Boyle carries a special message, but not from his boss who is a distant relative. The former Boston police detective brings a note from American Mafiosi Don Lucky Luciano to the Sicilian Mafia asking them to not fight the American soldiers.---------------- However Billy is wounded before he can deliver his message. As he struggles with amnesia, less scrupulous individuals plan to take advantage of the battlefields. One particular felon needs Billy dead before his memories return while Billy slowly puts together his past and his assignment making him wonder if he is a mob hit man.--------- The third Boyle WWII thriller is an exciting tale that brings to life Sicily in 1943 (see THE FIRST WAVE). As the allies invade the island, readers obtain a taste of the abject poverty alongside of mob rule. Although the amnesia ploy is an over used technique, Billy is terrific as he struggles more with what type of person he is than with just who he is. James R. Benn provides another fascinating look at the madness and anarchy of war in the European Theater of Operation.------------------ Harriet Klausner
glauver More than 1 year ago
James R. Benn moved the action to WW II Sicily in his third Billy Boyle novel. The result was a mixed bag. Ex cop Billy is a character I can root for and the descriptive writing is good. However, even though truth was woven into the plot, it became just a bit too much of a labyrinth, Beginning the story with Billy suffering amnesia seemed a bit too much like a TV show episode and there were just too many twists and narrow escapes as the story unfolded. However, I will keep reading the series, although I doubt it will to cross the line from good to great. I am thinking of buying Rick Atkinson's Pulitzer Prize winning Liberation Trilogy about the American army in Europe. If I do, it will partly be because of Benn's Billy Boyle books.
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