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Book Review: “The Devouring” is the 12th riveting and cinematic Billy Boyle WWII mystery novel by James Benn

By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out and Travelin’, Critics On The Aisle

James Benn is a master of mystery novels, all of which include well-researched historic fact to greatly heighten the plausibility of every dangerous twist and turn in the plots. In The Devouring, Benn exposes the shocking truth about Swiss greed and deadly complicity, on every level, with the Nazis during WWII.

The constant hair-raising encounters and escapes from seen and unseen enemies and uncharted territory have just enough dark humor to endure the ever-present threat of the capture and death.

This thrilling mystery kicks off with a bang from page one.

US Army detective, Captain Billy Boyle, and his resourceful and witty buddy, Lieutenant Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz, crash land in occupied France enroute to neutral Switzerland.  They have lost crucial gear and   must avoid roads and deal with the danger of mistaking pro-Nazi locals for French résistance fighters.

The daring duo are spotted by a powerful guy who turns out to be an ethnic Sinti whose family was murdered by the by Nazis. He’s now killing any of the enemy who cross his path. The Sinti warrior offers to lead Billy and Kaz to the Swiss border. The dangerous hike leads to close encounters with the enemy, including a happy surprise when caught by a young, unhappy Nazi soldier on the run.

Their crucial rendezvous in nearby Switzerland is to work undercover with the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to investigate Swiss banks that are laundering looted Nazi gold from concentration camp inmates, private property of ‘enemies of the state’ and national treasuries of the conquered countries.

The US and Swiss governments are about to embark on diplomatic discussions about the Safehaven Protocols, especially the war materials supplied by Switzerland to the Nazis regime and preventing them from using tons of looted gold and other valuables after the war.  With the talks about to begin and the Gestapo and its undercover agents ever present, the OSS (now the CIA) wants Billy and Kaz to protect pro-allied Swiss and US assets.

Benn has done another masterful job of maintaining the suspense and fast-paced action at Mach speed right up to last edge-of-your-seat moment.  As with the previous Billy Boyle WWII mysteries, this one can easily be seen in the mind’s eye as an exciting feature film – it’s that perfectly cinematic, as are the first 11 Billy Boyle mysteries published by SOHO Press in New York City.

The Devouring,  author James Benn’s 12th Billy Boyle novel, goes on sale Sept.12, 2017.  For information about upcoming book signings throughout the USA, go to www.jamesbenn.com and click on “Events” at the top of the home page.

As one sage person who read an advance copy of the novel told us – “It’s about refugees, crooked businessmen, and corrupt politicians. You know, current events….”

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