A historical fiction Kindle freebie! Yes! This book is the first of a series, and undoubtedly this is offered for free on the Kindle so that you feel compelled to buy all of the other ones after you read it.
In Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery by James R. Benn, Boston cop Billy Boyle finds himself drafted into the army in the middle of World War II. His uncle is some dude named Dwight Eisenhower (heard of him? I haven't), so he manages to land a desk job instead of being sent to the front lines of battle. He goes to London and is stationed at the Norwegian headquarters there. He quickly learns that there is a German spy somewhere within the Norwegian headquarters. Soon enough, there's a murder to solve. Even though he's naive and unprepared, Billy has to put his police training to work to help the U.S. Army in the middle of World War II.
I enjoyed this book, but I'm not sure everyone would. Toward the beginning, there's a lot of political/military talk that I can take with the bat of an eye after five years of history courses, but it might be a bit confusing to someone who's not interested in history. Some of the background information kind of seemed like they were written like a textbook instead of a story.
Billy isn't the strongest of characters to carry an entire series, if you ask me. He's rather "aw, shucks" and "dang, this crap is hard," which I guess is supposed to make him relatable and endearing, but I have no patience for... um, anything, so he kind of just got on my nerves. There's enough going on that it didn't ruin the book for me at all, but unless he toughens up a little, I'm not sure I could handle him as the protagonist for a whole series.
This is one of those rare books where the sub-plots were more interesting to me than the main plot. The whole spy-murder-conspiracy business was intriguing until they started figuring it out, and then I was just like, "... OK." For a book set in the middle of a war with so many opportunities to include some crazy, twisted, mind-blowing vigilante stuff, I felt like the route Benn took with the plot was lacking. Especially the ending.
If I stumble across these books in the future, I may pick them up... And who knows, I may get a wild hair for some World War II fiction one day and actively seek out another book in this series. For now, I'm going to say this was a decent piece of historical fiction and move on to the much-anticipated Mockingjay.
Read from September 23, 2010 to October 4, 2010