A Mortal Terror
By James R. Benn
Soho Crime, Hardcover, 9781569479940, 345pp.
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
List Price: $25.00*
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In his time investigating crimes for both the Boston cops and General Ike's European forces, Lieutenant Billy Boyle hasn't encountered a serial killer. But now it looks like he may--a serial killer with a particularly frightening agenda.
Two officers from the American troops stationed in Caserta, Italy, not far from Naples, have been found murdered. Lieutenant Norman Landry was found behind a supply tent with his neck snapped. Captain Max Galante, MD, was strangled on the same night, and his body left in a garden outside HQ. The MOs are completely different, and it seems like the officers had no connection to each other, but one frightening fact links the murders: each body was discovered with a single playing card: the Lieutenant, the ten of hearts; the Captain, the jack of hearts. The message seems to be clear--if the murderer isn't apprehended, the higher ranks will be next.
Billy is sent to Italy for the investigation, which grows increasingly sinister. But he has other things on his mind, too. His girlfriend, Diana, is on a very dangerous spy mission, and Billy doesn't know when--or if--he'll see her again. To make matters worse, Billy's just learned that his baby brother, Danny, is being sent over to Europe as an infantry replacement, an incredibly dangerous assignment. And all around him, he sees GIs suffering from combat fatigue preparing for another battle. As the invasion at Anzio begins, Billy needs to keep a cool head amidst fear and terror as the killer calculates his next moves.
“A fast-paced saga set in a period when the fate of civilization still hangs in the balance."—Wall Street Journal
"Captivating.... Benn does a superb job of simultaneously capturing the personal anguish of war and creating a splendid adventure novel."—Library Journal, Starred Review
“Solid wartime adventure, well grounded in historical detail, and boasting a challenging mystery to boot.”—Booklist
“A thrilling, fast-paced book, a great yarn wonderfully told. The mystery ploy is top notch with the ‘who,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ aspects of the murders as puzzling and suspenseful as anyone could wish…Author Benn skillfully blends the mystery of the murders and the violence of the war into one fantastic, satisfying whole. If you haven't already been hooked by this series, this book will do it and have you reaching back for the previous five.”—Mystery Scene
Praise for the Billy Boyle series:
"Spirited wartime storytelling."—The New York Times Book Review
"An instant classic."—Lee Child, Gone Tomorrow
"What a great read, full of action, humor and heart."—Louise Penny, Still Life
"Terrific.... Razor sharp."—Joseph Finder, Vanished