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- ISBN-13: 9781616957735
- ISBN-10: 1616957735
- Publisher: Soho Crime
- Publish Date: September 2017
- Page Count: 320
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Series: Billy Boyle WWII Mystery #2
Whodunit: Tracking down dirty secrets inside Switzerland’s banks
It is difficult to imagine a more nerve-racking beginning to an adventure than a flight just above the treetops in wartime Europe with snipers below you firing at bombers above you, but that is precisely where Captain Billy Boyle finds himself at the outset of James R. Benn’s gripping World War II mystery The Devouring. Billy and his associate, Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz, are en route to Switzerland to investigate the killing of a bank executive amid the systematic looting and subsequent laundering of concentration camp gold. Switzerland, neutral though it may be, will not provide a lot of sanctuary for them. The OSS, predecessor to the CIA, has launched Operation Safehaven to ensure that gold held by Nazi officials in Swiss banks will never be put toward funding a Fourth Reich. There will be hell to pay if the Nazis get wind of this, naturally. Within this chaotic milieu Billy and Kaz must conduct their investigation on the down low, assuming they can stay alive long enough to see it through. If you’re in need of a dose of adrenaline, then look no further.
If John le Carré is to be believed, then the world of spy craft is very different from the cinematic exploits of James Bond. Take le Carré’s fictional Peter Guillam, for example, who came up through the British Secret Service during the height of the Cold War. Fifty-odd years later, he has been summoned out of his quiet retirement in Breton to come to London and explain his involvement in a clandestine operation, code-named Windfall, to a bunch of people too young or too inexperienced to understand its ramifications. This encounter, and the events leading up to it, is chronicled in le Carré’s fascinating new novel, A Legacy of Spies. Guillam is an engaging first-person narrator imbued with insight and humor not dimmed one whit by age. And he uses his not inconsiderable skills as a raconteur to put a whole new spin on the events recounted in le Carré’s 1963 bestseller, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (a book you will most assuredly want to read, or reread, soon after this one).
Texas has a reputation as a law-and-order state, after a fashion, at least. And it is the “after a fashion” part that resonates with Darren Mathews, the African-American Texas Ranger who anchors Attica Locke’s atmospheric mystery Bluebird, Bluebird. That is to say, if Mathews has to color outside the lines in pursuit of justice, then so be it. In the past week, two murders—both possible hate crimes—have rocked the tiny East Texas town of Lark. One victim is a prominent black lawyer from Chicago, the other a local young white waitress. Mathews is on suspension when the story opens, but he quickly worms his way into the investigation and, upon being rebuked for this, plays his trump card: It would look really suspicious if the only black investigator were to be sidelined. Begrudgingly, the powers that be assign him to the case as the sole Texas Ranger investigator. In some ways, the case looks pretty cut and dried: out-of-town lawyer hooks up with local waitress; waitress’ husband (a possible member of the Aryan brotherhood) pulls the plug on both of them, either in person or by proxy. But the truth is much more convoluted, with its roots in age-old Southern racial tensions and modern drug warfare, and it’s all overlaid with a soundtrack of early and raw blues music.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
If you have never heard of a cobrador del frac, then don’t feel left out. Neither had I, and neither, I suspect, will more than a handful of Louise Penny’s readers prior to embarking on her latest suspense novel, Glass Houses. A cobrador del frac is a debt collector with roots in the Middle Ages; dressed in a top hat and tails, he stalks his prey, hovering always at the periphery of their vision, an unwelcome reminder of their indebtedness. One such cobrador has stationed himself in the town square of Three Pines, Quebec—the object of his attentions unknown. And although cobradors are nonconfrontational by design, murder follows soon after, leaving Sûreté Chief Superintendent Gamache caught up in the center of a dilemma, trying to balance a homicide investigation with his months-long goal of shutting down a massive drug operation. Gamache will face life-changing questions about the nature of guilt and innocence and the thin blue line separating law and conscience, leaving the reader contemplating these conundrums well after the final page has been turned.