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Evil for Evil
By James R. Benn

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Evil for Evil

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Evil for Evil
A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery
By James R. Benn
Kennebec Large Print, Large Print Edition (2009)
ISBN 10: 1-4104-2106-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-4104-2106-7
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Herbert White - February 3, 2010

Evil for Evil is the forth book in James R. Benn's Billy Boyle World War II Mystery series. This installment finds Lieutenant Billy Boyle still working on his uncle's staff as an investigator/spy in the Office of Special Investigations. For those unfamiliar with the series, Billy's uncle is non other then General Eisenhower, and Billy gained a spot on his staff thanks to his mother's meddling. Before the war, Billy had been a cop from the South End of Boston, and since the war he has fallen in love with Diana Seaton, who works with the SOE (Special Operations Executive) as an operative. On her last mission she was captured and almost killed, but was saved by Billy. He thinks that this gives him the right to dictate what jobs she does or does not take - but Diana is a woman with a mind of her own and is not about to let Billy control her life! Billy's ongoing relationship with Diana is to complicate his life, and his job.

In this thrilling adventure, Billy is sent to investigate the theft of fifty Browning Automatic Rifles. The guns were taken from a U.S. base in Northern Ireland. His job is to recover the guns and apprehend those responsible for the theft. In addition, he must do what he can to stop the IRA (Irish Republican Army) from using the guns to revolt against the British and/or to upgrade the ongoing unrest between the various Irish factions. The intended uprising is being cultivated by the Germans who are providing funding and support for the IRA as a means of impeding the British war effort. To complicate maters, Billy is from Irish stock, and many of his friends and family support the IRA cause. To solve this case, Billy is going to have to come to terms with his own past, and to decided for himself just who is in the right.

In my estimation, Evil for Evil is the best book in the Billy Boyle series, and the most complicated, to date. It is a well-paced mystery that highlights a little known aspect of World War II history, namely the Abwehr's inflitration of the IRA, and the IRA's collaberation with the Nazis during the War. Benn also does an excellent job of illustrating the dilemma faced by Billy in solving this crime. As well, the story is filled with a nice assortment of spies, an ever growing body count, lots of intrigue, and an era specific atmosphere that brings the story to life. I wasn't very sure about this series when I read the first novel, but it has grown on me and I'm looking forward to reading the future adventures of Billy Boyle.

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