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Blood Alone
By James R. Benn

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Blood Alone

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Blood Alone
By James R. Benn
Kennebec Large Print, Large Print Edition (2009)
ISBN 10: 1-59722-926-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-59722-926-5
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Herbert White - January 15, 2010

The third installment of the Billy Boyle mystery series finds Billy out of sorts, in a major way. This is because he finds himself in a field hospital in Sicily, wounded and suffering from amnesia. As he struggles to recover his memories, Billy tries to recall what his mission is, and more important, how to carry it out without having his faculties fully intact.

If you have been following along with the series, set in World War II Europe, you might expect that not all is destined to go smoothly for Lieutenant Boyle. You'd be right. In Blood Alone, Billy finds himself tangling with a Mafia don, working to overthrow a murderous gang of counterfeiters, and trying to solve the mystery surrounding the theft of an Army payroll - and that's just for starters.

This book, like the other books in the Billy Boyle series, has the feel of being a boy's adventure book, just one slanted toward an adult audience. Billy spends a great deal of his time getting into and out of scrapes, getting hurt, lost, or captured by the enemy, yet he always manages to get himself out of all these situations virtually unscathed. As a consequence, if you are looking for a serious mystery, you might be disappointed with this book. However, if you are looking for a fast paced adventure story that involves a former Boston Detective, now special investigator working for General Eisenhower, solving a string of mysteries and thefts, and going on secret missions, you will find that this, and the other books in the series, will fit the bill.

As well, for those that have been following the series since its beginning, you will find that in Blood Alone, the author, James R. Benn, has allowed Billy to continue to mature and, in this installment, to do a lot of soul searching. As well, Benn is doing a better job of fleshing out the various characters that Billy meets. As with all the books in the series, the setting plays a major role in the stories, as does actual, but lesser known historical events. Blood Alone is no exception. Benn does a decent job of infusing the story with the gritty reality of an American soldier's life in Sicily during the hellish, Allied invasion of the island. I'm looking forward to reading, Evil for Evil, the next installment in this fast-paced series.

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