The Devouring (Billy Boyle World War II, #12)
A murder in wartime Switzerland reveals Swiss complicity with the Nazis and profiteering during World War II Billy and Kaz are sent to neutral Switzerland to investigate the murder of a Swiss banking official with ties to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The US and Swiss governments are about to embark on diplomatic discussions regarding the Safehaven Protocols, which are aimed at limiting the amount of war materials exported by Switzerland to the Nazis, halting the laundering of looted gold, and preventing the postwar use of Nazi wealth for war criminals. With the talks about to begin, the OSS wants their involvement in the murder cleared up, as well as to protect the participants from any threat of violence. The plans go wrong from the beginning when Billy and Kaz crash-land in France. As they make their way through occupied territory to the border, they meet Anton Lasho, a member of the Sinti ethnic group, whose family was slaughtered by the Nazis, and who is, in turn, a one-man Nazi-killing machine. They'll need his help, because as they find once they make it across the border, Swiss banks are openly laundering gold harvested from concentration camps, and those that are profiting will do everything they can to protect their wealth and hide their dark secrets."

The Devouring (Billy Boyle World War II, #12) Details

TitleThe Devouring (Billy Boyle World War II, #12)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 12th, 2017
PublisherSoho Crime
ISBN-139781616957735
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Action, War

The Devouring (Billy Boyle World War II, #12) Review

  • Tom Donaghey
    January 1, 1970
    THE DEVOURING by James R. Benn is the 12th episode in the Billy Boyle WWII mystery series. This time Billy, along with the urbane Polish Freedom Fighter Kaz, must make it to Switzerland as part of a secret mission to stop the Nazis from hoarding gold in Swiss banks for life after the war. Mr. Benn has once again sent his heroes into a fast paced, peril filled adventure. Their little plane was shot down by ack-ack, somewhere in souther France, a long way from their proposed destination. They are THE DEVOURING by James R. Benn is the 12th episode in the Billy Boyle WWII mystery series. This time Billy, along with the urbane Polish Freedom Fighter Kaz, must make it to Switzerland as part of a secret mission to stop the Nazis from hoarding gold in Swiss banks for life after the war. Mr. Benn has once again sent his heroes into a fast paced, peril filled adventure. Their little plane was shot down by ack-ack, somewhere in souther France, a long way from their proposed destination. They are captured by a member of the Sinti ethic group fighting his own war, on a mission to kill as many Germans as possible. Together the trio form a team that takes them across the border and into the real purpose of Billy and Kaz's mission. Along the way they meet financiers and frauleins, Gestapo thugs and SS goons, treacherous old ladies and even more deadly young ones. This is another example of Mr. Benn's ability to bring fresh insight to what may well be the most written about period of history. Along with writing a great action thriller, he has managed to infuse it with historical events within Switzerland that are seldom talked about. Things such as how so many of the "neutral" were actually rabid pro-Nazi sympathizers. So much so that they aided the Nazis in laundering stolen fortunes within the secrecy of their banks. So many of the wealthy turned a blind eye to the final solution even as they assisted in a multitude of ways. More than just an action story, this is both a murder mystery and a revelation of a history most of us know little about. You can't go wrong with a Billy Boyle adventure tale. Now I find myself having to read more of them. I won this book through the GoodReads program.
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    The latest in James Benn's excellent WWII historical mystery series, and it flows so smoothly from the previous title. Jim writes wonderfully about the exploits of CPT. Billy Boyle, special investigator for the Allied Supreme Commander, General Eisenhower. I wait expectantly for the next volume, which I hope will take the characters into a mystery involving intrigue and the freeing of the concentration camps.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    Author James Benn's Switzerland, circa WW2, is not exactly the epitome of neutrality it claimed to be. Nazi shenanigans in the banks of Bern, Zurich, and Geneva made a mockery of banking laws and millions of dollars were kept from European Jews who had deposited funds before and during the war. Spies from both the Allied and Axis countries rubbed shoulders in restaurants and parties. Most people weren't sure of another's allegiances, which, anyway, could change with the latest victory or defeat. Author James Benn's Switzerland, circa WW2, is not exactly the epitome of neutrality it claimed to be. Nazi shenanigans in the banks of Bern, Zurich, and Geneva made a mockery of banking laws and millions of dollars were kept from European Jews who had deposited funds before and during the war. Spies from both the Allied and Axis countries rubbed shoulders in restaurants and parties. Most people weren't sure of another's allegiances, which, anyway, could change with the latest victory or defeat. Benn sets his newest book, "The Devouring" in Bern. after getting his main characters, Billy Boyle and Kaz there through the French countryside.James Benn has written twelve books in his "Billy Boyle WW2 Mystery" series. I've read everyone of them, enjoying them all except for one which was set, for some reason, in the Pacific Theater of Operations and involved, of all people, a young John Kennedy. (Please don't do that again, James!) The main character, Capt Billy Boyle, is a Boston detective who is drafted into the service and is assigned to work for a distant relative, Dwight Eisenhower. Billy is Ike's "fixer" and he joins up with Kaz, a Polish nobleman who has fled Poland after the Nazi takeover in 1939. Together they look into crimes - both physical and financial - throughout Allied-held territory. By summer of 1944, they are dropped in eastern France, to be smuggled in to Switzerland to work for Allen Dulles's organisation. Their mission in Switzerland is bit confusing, involving Swiss, Germans, Americans, and Brits. And, one "Sinti" (gypsy) who they had met in France and who had helped them cross the Swiss border. Real people, like Allen Dulles and the head of the International Red Cross, Max Huber, are important parts of the story. Seemingly, most everyone's identity and allegiances are fluid. But the story is told and then tidied up in an acceptable manner, making "The Devouring" another good James Benn novel.As I wrote before, I've read all the books in the series (as well as Benn's two standalone novels) and I find his books getting stronger in plot and character development as they've gone along. That's a bit rare because I think there are several other mystery series which have petered out as the series stagger forward. Maybe that's because James Benn puts a different spin on WW2 history in each book.
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  • Viva
    January 1, 1970
    I've already read one other Billy Boyle book so I looked forward to this one and was not disappointed. This time Billy Boyle and Kaz are flown into occupied Europe where they are to meet Allen Dulles in neutral Switzerland. Once they are there, a friend is murdered and they need to obtain a mysterious document.The writing is easy to read and follow. I got into the story right away and finished the book within 3 days. I liked the characters, they were all well written and well fleshed out, both t I've already read one other Billy Boyle book so I looked forward to this one and was not disappointed. This time Billy Boyle and Kaz are flown into occupied Europe where they are to meet Allen Dulles in neutral Switzerland. Once they are there, a friend is murdered and they need to obtain a mysterious document.The writing is easy to read and follow. I got into the story right away and finished the book within 3 days. I liked the characters, they were all well written and well fleshed out, both the good guys and the bad guys. The description and setting of wartime Switzerland were done well and felt real.There is a mix of real and fictional characters in this book and I spent some time afterwards reading up on some of the more interesting ones I didn't know about such as Max Berg, the brainiest baseball player.Though neutral Switzerland was the backdrop to the story I felt this to be the real story behind the book. The usual reason for Germany not invading Switzerland during WWII is often given as Germany not wanting to fight a mountainous and easily defensible country with a determined citizenry but after reading this book I've realized that there is a more obvious reason. That is, Switzerland was more valuable as an ally who was ostensibly neutral. This way, Switzerland could act as Germany's banker for its ill gotten gains and middleman for trading with the rest of the free world. The author's note at the back and the events in the book says as much.Overall, I liked this book because of the action and the characters. I didn't realize this was #12 in the Billy Boyle series and I'll definitely check out the other ones.I got this book as a free ARC.
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  • Gloria Feit
    January 1, 1970
    Switzerland has the reputation of being a neutral oasis in the middle of Europe, but if Billy Boyle’s experience shortly after D-Day is any example it was anything but. In the latest installment of this fine series, Billy and his sidekick, Kaz, are being flown into the country to assist Allan Dulles and the OSS in an important mission, only to be shot down over southern Occupied France. As they make their way toward Switzerland on foot, they meet a Gypsy Nazi killing machine who helps them enter Switzerland has the reputation of being a neutral oasis in the middle of Europe, but if Billy Boyle’s experience shortly after D-Day is any example it was anything but. In the latest installment of this fine series, Billy and his sidekick, Kaz, are being flown into the country to assist Allan Dulles and the OSS in an important mission, only to be shot down over southern Occupied France. As they make their way toward Switzerland on foot, they meet a Gypsy Nazi killing machine who helps them enter the country illegally.Switzerland turns out to be teeming with spies, Nazis, profiteers from the war selling materiel to Germany, bankers turning their heads aside taking in gold stolen by the Nazis for a percentage and government officials supporting Germany. So instead of assisting Dulles in his efforts to prevent the ill-gotten loot the Nazis have accumulated from being used, perhaps, to fund a future war after their defeat in WWII, they become involved in other efforts as well. As the author wrote to this reviewer in a private email: “Very odd thing about this book. When I started writing it in 2015, I never imagined the subject matter (abandoned refugees, corrupt businessmen who put profit before country, fascist militias, and lying politicians) in Switzerland 1944 would resonate with current events in 2017 (in my opinion, anyway). Sometimes it feels like history is on an endless loop.” Or did someone else say the same thing in different words?Another excellent addition to a great series, and highly recommended.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    I love the Billy Boyle series and can't wait till September arrives the last few years to read the next entry. Once again Billy and Kaz do not disappoint, but the subject matter, the spurious nature of Switzerland's "neutrality" in World War II and the hand in glove collusion of Swiss banks laundering of looted gold and valuables not just from conquered nations but from those murdered and imprisoned peoples they found undesirable, was hard to read. Collusion with the Third Reich in the service o I love the Billy Boyle series and can't wait till September arrives the last few years to read the next entry. Once again Billy and Kaz do not disappoint, but the subject matter, the spurious nature of Switzerland's "neutrality" in World War II and the hand in glove collusion of Swiss banks laundering of looted gold and valuables not just from conquered nations but from those murdered and imprisoned peoples they found undesirable, was hard to read. Collusion with the Third Reich in the service of greed, even of American industry using Swiss bankers and their secrecy laws as middlemen, was an aspect of the war new to me, and a shock. True to the complexity of the situation and the realities of war and post-war considerations, the ending is not very satisfying, but Billy being Billy gets what little justice can be wrung from such a stacked deck. Our heroes never do get to take an active role in the Safehaven negotiations, their reason for being sent to Bern, but Safehaven, an attempt to gain an agreement with the Swiss to prevent Nazi high command figures like Himmler from accessing their stashed wealth in Swiss accounts to escape and rebuild at war's end, was an interesting piece of what was happening post-Normandy invasion. In this case Billy and Kaz being trouble magnets was to their advantage and ours since Safehaven would have likely kept them in Switzerland for the duration. Now to wait another year. Sigh!
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  • Jean Kolinofsky
    January 1, 1970
    As an investigator for General Eisenhower during WWII, Billy Boyle has seen action in North Africa, Italy, France and the Pacific. Each of James R. Benn's novels incorporates an actual event from the war and in The Devouring he places Billy and his fellow investigator Kaz in Switzerland to assist the OSS with Operation Safehaven. This operation was conceived by the Treasury Department and the OSS to prevent the Nazis from accessing the gold and treasures that they placed in accounts in neutral c As an investigator for General Eisenhower during WWII, Billy Boyle has seen action in North Africa, Italy, France and the Pacific. Each of James R. Benn's novels incorporates an actual event from the war and in The Devouring he places Billy and his fellow investigator Kaz in Switzerland to assist the OSS with Operation Safehaven. This operation was conceived by the Treasury Department and the OSS to prevent the Nazis from accessing the gold and treasures that they placed in accounts in neutral countries.Their assignment begins with a plane crash in France and a narrow escape with the assistance of Lasho, a gypsy on a one man vendetta against the Germans. Once they reach Switzerland they must contend with an uncooperative banking system, the gestapo and German sympathizers. They quickly discover that neutral Switzerland is often not as welcoming as they thought.This is the twelfth adventure for Billy Boyle and Benn's novels have always placed the reader right in the center of the action. This is one series that I have followed from the first book and I look forward to seeing what Billy will face next.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    This book starts right as the previous ended. It mostly takes place in neutral Switzerland. Their neutrality favored Germany. This is one of the most under appreciated and under covered parts of the conflict. Many of the books I have seen seem more sensational than fact based. Benn shows a needed light into this sad dark corner. The time frame is very early June 1944, right after D-Day. I think Been was smart to set this installment in a lesser know area rather than the very well known and crowd This book starts right as the previous ended. It mostly takes place in neutral Switzerland. Their neutrality favored Germany. This is one of the most under appreciated and under covered parts of the conflict. Many of the books I have seen seem more sensational than fact based. Benn shows a needed light into this sad dark corner. The time frame is very early June 1944, right after D-Day. I think Been was smart to set this installment in a lesser know area rather than the very well known and crowded coast of Normandy. I guess he could have put Billy and Kaz in an X-craft reporting on the firmness of sand but I think this story was better. Billy is still Billy but in each book he is learning and growing. He is no longer a naive newbie detective. I don't know how an author does that. I can't wait for the next in the series. Obviously this book appeals to history fans but the series is a good journey -- I think any mystery reader will enjoy.
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  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    Great historical mystery set in WWII era Switzerland. Billy Boyle, is on special assignment in neutral Switzerland. He finds that Gestapo agents move freely and the banking system is involved in helping the Nazis bank their ill-gotten wealth.
  • Martin Benvenuto
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished the audio book. I wish I could take away 1/2 a star only because I found the ending disappointing. The biggest disappointment was not getting a hint of Billy's next adventure. Hopefully the author will work fast on the next installment!
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  • Ken French
    January 1, 1970
    Very suspenseful latest entry in this series, which keeps getting better.
  • Ann Theis
    January 1, 1970
    PW
  • Martina
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful series. I am really behind on it and need to catch up.
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