When Hell Struck Twelve (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries #14)
The fourteenth Billy Boyle WWII mystery takes place in northern France during August of 1944.Captain Billy Boyle is assigned to track down a French traitor, Bernard Fouch, a member of the French Resistance recently discovered to have been an informer. Fouch betrayed many members of his Resistance group who were subsequently tortured by the Gestapo and then killed or sent to concentration camps. Fouch now has information about an Allied campaign to recapture Paris from the Nazis and he is on the run to tell the Germans. The Resistance is out for blood, and they are hot on Fouch's trail. What they don't know is the plan was leaked on purpose, a ruse devised by a colonel to obscure the Allied army's real intentions to bypass Paris in a race to the German border. Now Billy and Kaz are assigned to the Resistance with orders to not let them capture Fouch: the deception campaign is too important. Playing a delicate game, the chase must be close enough to spur Fouch on and visible enough to insure the Germans trust Fouch's intentions

When Hell Struck Twelve (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries #14) Details

TitleWhen Hell Struck Twelve (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries #14)
Author
ReleaseSep 3rd, 2019
PublisherSoho Crime
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Cultural, France, War, World War II, Fiction

When Hell Struck Twelve (Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries #14) Review

  • Literary Soirée
    January 1, 1970
    MAGGIE HOPE MADE ME DO IT!This is my first Billy Boyle, recommended by esteemed historical fiction author Susan Elia MacNeal, who says she loves this mystery series. TRACKING FRENCH TRAITORI can see why, as it captured my heart and imagination as Boyle, a US Army Detective, is tasked with following a French traitor leaking Allied documents to Nazis in Paris in August 1944. TAUT NARRATIVEThe engaging Billy admirably counterbalances the recent flurry of WWII novels featuring fema MAGGIE HOPE MADE ME DO IT!This is my first Billy Boyle, recommended by esteemed historical fiction author Susan Elia MacNeal, who says she loves this mystery series. TRACKING FRENCH TRAITORI can see why, as it captured my heart and imagination as Boyle, a US Army Detective, is tasked with following a French traitor leaking Allied documents to Nazis in Paris in August 1944. TAUT NARRATIVEThe engaging Billy admirably counterbalances the recent flurry of WWII novels featuring female spies. The writing is taut, narrative gripping and insights penetrating into this critical time in history. A triumph! 5/5 Pub Date 03 Sep 2019.Thanks to James R. Benn, Soho Press, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #WhenHellStruckTwelve #NetGalley
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  • Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
    January 1, 1970
    Another very well done, tightly executed, superbly plotted story by the best WWII mystery writer around. Readers have followed Benn's wonderfully developed, endearing character Billy Boyle, from his first days in the military in Europe, through many battles, murders, landscapes, intrigues, and horrors, on to this story, set in the weary, nightmarish post-D-Day, killing fields of France. The looming question of Paris - it's liberation or destruction, or both - surrounds this story. Benn again sho Another very well done, tightly executed, superbly plotted story by the best WWII mystery writer around. Readers have followed Benn's wonderfully developed, endearing character Billy Boyle, from his first days in the military in Europe, through many battles, murders, landscapes, intrigues, and horrors, on to this story, set in the weary, nightmarish post-D-Day, killing fields of France. The looming question of Paris - it's liberation or destruction, or both - surrounds this story. Benn again shows his impeccable research skills in illuminating the complex nature of the French during the occupation.
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  • Martina
    January 1, 1970
    The 14th book in the Billy Boyle mystery series set during World War II. Publishes September 3, 2019 from Soho Press (Soho Crime). 5 stars! If I could give more, I would. This was a fantastic outing with Billy Boyle and his friends. Covers the period during the push toward Paris after D-Day, and the madness of the few days before the entry of Americans into Paris as the Germans flee. Scores to be settled. Betrayals to be repaid in kind. This is a story filled with high tension, with death around The 14th book in the Billy Boyle mystery series set during World War II. Publishes September 3, 2019 from Soho Press (Soho Crime). 5 stars! If I could give more, I would. This was a fantastic outing with Billy Boyle and his friends. Covers the period during the push toward Paris after D-Day, and the madness of the few days before the entry of Americans into Paris as the Germans flee. Scores to be settled. Betrayals to be repaid in kind. This is a story filled with high tension, with death around the corner, a high wire act played out under the influence of methamphetamines! Don't go much beyond page 275 if you have some place you need to be or something you need to do because you won't be able to stop until you've finished the book! My heart is still pounding! Benn is such a good writer--great characters, lots of action, knows his history, makes everything come alive! What a pleasure to be back in the action of WWII in the hands of such a solid historian/writer. Accolades!Thanks to the Soho Press for an advance copy. Picked it up, read about 10 pages and was totally hooked. Also loved the 'nod' to someone else's main character's family!
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  • Bruce Perrin
    January 1, 1970
    A Well-Crafted Wartime Backdrop for a Somewhat Clumsy MysteryAuthor James Benn’s depiction of the events leading up to and during the Liberation of Paris—the backdrop for When Hell Struck Twelve—is outstanding. The Germans are retreating from Normandy after their defeat at the Battle for Hill 262. On the Battle’s 20th anniversary, President Eisenhower said that "… no other battlefield presented such a horrible sight of death, hell, and total destruction." Benn’s description in the opening chapters of t A Well-Crafted Wartime Backdrop for a Somewhat Clumsy MysteryAuthor James Benn’s depiction of the events leading up to and during the Liberation of Paris—the backdrop for When Hell Struck Twelve—is outstanding. The Germans are retreating from Normandy after their defeat at the Battle for Hill 262. On the Battle’s 20th anniversary, President Eisenhower said that "… no other battlefield presented such a horrible sight of death, hell, and total destruction." Benn’s description in the opening chapters of the book does that statement justice. As the Germans retreat toward Paris after the defeat, a power vacuum is created, letting factions within the French resistance settle old scores. It’s not enough that the French are killing Germans and vice versa; the French are also killing each other. Our main characters, US Army detective Billy Boyle and Lieutenant Kazimierz (Kaz) find themselves entangled in this purgatory, witnessing the horrors of war from tank and gun battles on the streets of Paris to clandestine torture and murder in backrooms and deserted buildings. The psychological costs are also felt as our heroes develop mysterious headaches and uncontrollable muscle tremors. It’s a dark, brutal, unrelenting world compellingly drawn by Benn.This stellar setting provides a backdrop to a mystery that, unfortunately, feels contrived and convenient. The Allied army leaks plans for the liberation of Paris to a French traitor, while actually, they plan to skirt the city and trap the Germans there. But rather than letting the Germans believe the traitor has succeeded in his espionage, Billy, Kaz, and the French raise a ruckus in their pursuit of the man. As the author notes, that reaction gives the stolen plans credibility, but it also makes them worthless. The Allies would just go to Plan B for the liberation of the city now that the theft is known; that is, unless they had no time to change plans. But they have time and in fact do change their minds, deciding to take Paris rather than bypassing it. Of course, the French traitor would have only been allowed to steal fake plans, right? Not so quick. Apparently, the Allies seeded their ruse with the real (and only?) plans for liberating Paris, because now they want to use them. There is apparently no Plan B as Billy and Kaz are sent off to stop the traitor who has been on the run for at least a day. He could have made copies. He could have talked to any number of people, both in person and on the phone. Other than providing a reason for Billy and Kaz to enter Paris (and the story to continue), why would the Allies do such a thing? There’s another change of direction in this basic storyline and several more bizarre coincidences that keep the mystery feeling fantastical, rather than real to the very end.With a bit of work on the plot, Billy and Kaz could have ended up in the middle of the Liberation of Paris in ways that were both historically consistent and logically plausible. But as the book is written, the fiction felt like a somewhat clumsy add-on.
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  • Kaitlyn Dunnett
    January 1, 1970
    Ordinarily, I don't choose to read mysteries set during wartime, but there are a couple of authors who are such good writers that they prompt me to make an exception. One is Charles Todd, with the Bess Crawford series set during World War I. The other is James R. Benn, who writes the World War II Billy Boyle mysteries. I'm not happy about the semi-cliffhanger ending of this one, which leaves the fate of a secondary continuing character up in the air, but otherwise, as usual, the storytelling kep Ordinarily, I don't choose to read mysteries set during wartime, but there are a couple of authors who are such good writers that they prompt me to make an exception. One is Charles Todd, with the Bess Crawford series set during World War I. The other is James R. Benn, who writes the World War II Billy Boyle mysteries. I'm not happy about the semi-cliffhanger ending of this one, which leaves the fate of a secondary continuing character up in the air, but otherwise, as usual, the storytelling kept me turning pages to see what would happen next. I especially like the way Benn mixes what really happened with what could have been going on behind the scenes. I just wish I didn't have to wait a whole year for the next one.
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  • Libby
    January 1, 1970
    I'm always eager to read the newest Billy Boyle story. As is sometimes true of Benn's works, this is more war story than mystery. The guilty party becomes evident about halfway through the book, and then the focus changes to tracking down the culprit in the chaos of pre-liberation Paris. Benn writes well with great historical details, and by this point in the series, I'm attached to the characters. Be forewarned: the book ends with a cliff-hanger. Review based on an ARC received through NetGalle I'm always eager to read the newest Billy Boyle story. As is sometimes true of Benn's works, this is more war story than mystery. The guilty party becomes evident about halfway through the book, and then the focus changes to tracking down the culprit in the chaos of pre-liberation Paris. Benn writes well with great historical details, and by this point in the series, I'm attached to the characters. Be forewarned: the book ends with a cliff-hanger. Review based on an ARC received through NetGalley.
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  • Bill Sleeman
    January 1, 1970
    Great! Billy, Kaz and author James Benn have done it again. This is a fast-paced and engaging mystery built around the liberation of Paris. The only drawback, and it is a minor one, is Benn's habit of inserting real life figures into the narrative. It is too cute by far and sometimes makes the story seem more like the movie Zelig than really adding to the piece. I wish he would dial this plot trick (and it is simply a trick) back and instead continue to build the narrative around the characters Great! Billy, Kaz and author James Benn have done it again. This is a fast-paced and engaging mystery built around the liberation of Paris. The only drawback, and it is a minor one, is Benn's habit of inserting real life figures into the narrative. It is too cute by far and sometimes makes the story seem more like the movie Zelig than really adding to the piece. I wish he would dial this plot trick (and it is simply a trick) back and instead continue to build the narrative around the characters he has created. I got this copy as an ARC at ALA - the last free copy remaining at the Soho Crime booth - and read it in three days!
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Intense, fast=paced World War II novel. I've mentioned before that I don't know a lot of the details of WWII, only the broad strokes. This series has led me to look into specific battles/theaters of the war. The characters are engaging, and, over the course of the series, I've become invested in their individual stories. Benn left us with a cliff-hanger this time! I look forward to the next novel in the series.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    B: Another excellent entry in the series which blends history with mystery. This is the liberation of Paris. Billy’s team is thinning and showing the strain of years at war.
  • Katherine
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant story as always. I need to know what happens next to Diana, Kaz and Billy. I loved this one and am excited for the next to come
  • Shirley Wetzel
    January 1, 1970
    Captain Billy Boyle and his partner and friend Lieutenant Kazimierz are tasked with tracking down a traitor among the French Resistance as the Nazis and Allies march toward a major battle to free France. As always, the historical details are meticulous and seamlessly woven into the plot. The cameos of real people that always enrich the stories include General George Patton, young reporter Andy Rooney, and the boisterous and colorful writer Ernest Hemingway. I say this after each book: "this is Captain Billy Boyle and his partner and friend Lieutenant Kazimierz are tasked with tracking down a traitor among the French Resistance as the Nazis and Allies march toward a major battle to free France. As always, the historical details are meticulous and seamlessly woven into the plot. The cameos of real people that always enrich the stories include General George Patton, young reporter Andy Rooney, and the boisterous and colorful writer Ernest Hemingway. I say this after each book: "this is the best one yet." This time I say it again. It will be hard to top When Hell Struck Twelve, but I predict Mr. Benn will manage.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    "When Hell Struck Twelve" is author James Benn's 14th in his "Billy Boyle" mystery series. Thirteen of the novels are set in the European Theater (one is set in the Pacific Theater and inexplicably features a young naval LT-JG named John Kennedy) and the reader can gain a lot of info about WW2. The "hook" on the characters and setting is that Billy Boyle, a former Boston cop, is not a regular soldier, but is an investigator to distant cousin to a general named Eisenhower. He has a team, includin "When Hell Struck Twelve" is author James Benn's 14th in his "Billy Boyle" mystery series. Thirteen of the novels are set in the European Theater (one is set in the Pacific Theater and inexplicably features a young naval LT-JG named John Kennedy) and the reader can gain a lot of info about WW2. The "hook" on the characters and setting is that Billy Boyle, a former Boston cop, is not a regular soldier, but is an investigator to distant cousin to a general named Eisenhower. He has a team, including a wealthy Polish prince/soldier and a fellow cop from the US, and together they are sent into the field to solve crimes."When Hell Struck Twelve" is set in northern France two months after D-Day. Crawling in the area seem to be about almost every group involved in the war. There are French partisans, German SS troops, Allied soldiers, all seemingly around the corner and forever skirmishing with each other. Down the Seine lies unliberated Paris and everybody's waiting for the Allies to reach the city. However, senior command is thinking about not heading south to Paris but rather full east into Germany. There may - or may not - be maps and documents which have gone missing and Ike sends Boyle and his crew to try to find it. It's a bit confusing but no worse than his previous books.James Benn writes a good mystery set in war time. He's very detailed in his description of the politics and battles; and to read his series is to learn about WW2. This 14th new book is another good addition to the series.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    This is the 14th book in the series. I can't pick a favorite but this may be the most complex. It h as the most moving parts! We have the setting of the war, the closing the Falaise pocket and the liberation of Paris. Warning: Some Spoilers may be inferred or implied The Spanish Civil War is used a back drop to set up many of the conflicts between rival French Resistance groups. This gives a depth the conflict and makes all these puzzle parts spin even faster. Kaz is taking nitro pills and alway This is the 14th book in the series. I can't pick a favorite but this may be the most complex. It h as the most moving parts! We have the setting of the war, the closing the Falaise pocket and the liberation of Paris. Warning: Some Spoilers may be inferred or implied The Spanish Civil War is used a back drop to set up many of the conflicts between rival French Resistance groups. This gives a depth the conflict and makes all these puzzle parts spin even faster. Kaz is taking nitro pills and always has a headache, Sam Harding has an overly complicated scheme that puts everyone on dangers (except him), Billy gets some german Pervitin and over does it. We have many murders, many towns, many characters and many motives. At one time I wondered if this was the series end and Billy would not make it. I also seriously wonder about the fate of Diane Seaton and Kaz once or twice. There are a few loose ends. I wonder how quickly the next book picks up.
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  • Rachel Menke
    January 1, 1970
    What a ride of a read! Billy Boyle has come a long way from that green detective trying to figure out British culture and army protocol to where we find him here, a captain entrusted with a dangerous and secret mission that puts him right in the middle of a Paris on the eve of liberation. The action is non-stop in this 14th novel in the series that picks up right where the 13th left off. Even once the initial mystery is solved, and the suspect is identified, the plot twists and double and triple What a ride of a read! Billy Boyle has come a long way from that green detective trying to figure out British culture and army protocol to where we find him here, a captain entrusted with a dangerous and secret mission that puts him right in the middle of a Paris on the eve of liberation. The action is non-stop in this 14th novel in the series that picks up right where the 13th left off. Even once the initial mystery is solved, and the suspect is identified, the plot twists and double and triple crosses make “When Hell Struck Twelve” a page-turner to the very last page where you will encounter the only disappointment of the book...that you have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next! 😩
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  • Darius Ostrowski
    January 1, 1970
    This one was better than the recent Billy Boyles, I'm glad to see that Mr. Benn hasn't run out of ideas.The plot involves fooling the Germans, then not fooling the Germans, then going to Paris and preventing the wrong material from getting to the wrong people. I really enjoyed the opening scene, and the story moved along at a good clip and in unexpected directions. The historical aspects are always interesting, although the cameos (including Andy Rooney) can be distracting. Alan Furs This one was better than the recent Billy Boyles, I'm glad to see that Mr. Benn hasn't run out of ideas.The plot involves fooling the Germans, then not fooling the Germans, then going to Paris and preventing the wrong material from getting to the wrong people. I really enjoyed the opening scene, and the story moved along at a good clip and in unexpected directions. The historical aspects are always interesting, although the cameos (including Andy Rooney) can be distracting. Alan Furst still is tops as far as capturing the mood of WWII Europe, but Billy Boyle and Kaz always present an amusing diversion.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    Benn continues to produce a remarkable series, but this novel had an emotional depth rarely seen before. Billy and Kaz after two years of witnessing the worst war has to offer are pushed beyond their limits, physically and emotionally, in the days leading up to and including the liberation of Paris. The depth of their friendship is poignant. Traitors from within and an unexpected help from an enemy along with devastating loss made the novel impossible to put down as Billy breaks amidst the exult Benn continues to produce a remarkable series, but this novel had an emotional depth rarely seen before. Billy and Kaz after two years of witnessing the worst war has to offer are pushed beyond their limits, physically and emotionally, in the days leading up to and including the liberation of Paris. The depth of their friendship is poignant. Traitors from within and an unexpected help from an enemy along with devastating loss made the novel impossible to put down as Billy breaks amidst the exultant crowds welcoming the Allies into Paris. I can’t remember any of Benn’s Billy Boyle novels leaving us with a cliffhanger but this one does, which shocked me knowing what comes next is twelve months away. Read it anyway.
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  • Judi
    January 1, 1970
    This is another great entry in the Billy Boyle series. This time our guys, Billy and Kaz, are assigned to track down a French traitor who is giving plans to the Germans in occupied Paris. The many groups that make up the French Resistance are out to stop him permanently. Billy and Kaz must prevent this as the information he carries is leaked and incorrect. It is imperative that Germans think Allies are going to Paris rather than pressing on to German border.
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  • Marylou Hobbs
    January 1, 1970
    This series gets better and better w/ every book. Meticulously researched, as one would expect fro an author who is also a librarian ! The engaging characters behave like real people might in similar circumstances. They are not at all idealized. Can’t wait for the next one !
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    I have been reading this series since the beginning. Love the characters and Benn's attention to history.
  • Zhou Yi
    January 1, 1970
    not really a detective story like previous ones
  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    This 14th installment of the Billy Boyle series picks up rather seamlessly from the end of the 13th book, Solemn Graves. The gang is still in France and the turmoil in the countryside is heating up even more between various French Resistance factions, partisans from other nations, French-Nazi collaborators, retreating Germans and the Allied forces. Billy and his friends are tasked with deceiving and flushing out a traitor, but plans go horribly awry resulting in murder. Soon, Billy and Kaz end u This 14th installment of the Billy Boyle series picks up rather seamlessly from the end of the 13th book, Solemn Graves. The gang is still in France and the turmoil in the countryside is heating up even more between various French Resistance factions, partisans from other nations, French-Nazi collaborators, retreating Germans and the Allied forces. Billy and his friends are tasked with deceiving and flushing out a traitor, but plans go horribly awry resulting in murder. Soon, Billy and Kaz end up in Paris facing more danger than ever on all sides!This one involves more than a little political intrigue and not quite as much detective work as some of the earlier books. Billy and Kaz both are less than their usual bantering selves as the sheer death toll and horrors of the war wears down on them both. Benn shows both characters growing over the course of the series, but this is perhaps the grimmest installment yet. Billy may not be his boisterous self, but he is still quite brave. The ending, viewed through Billy's rather altered frame of mind feels authentically convoluted. Be warned - this one ends on a cliffhanger, so it will be a long wait for next year's installment! Still, this is an enjoyable addition to the series and one that I read in practically one sitting! Next September can't come fast enough!
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  • Steve Ewing
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe I should have started with the first book in the series.
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