A Mortal Terror

Movel of the Month

A Mortal TerrorInterested in WWII mysteries?  Ones where the detective is actually a soldier serving in the war?  It is a unique concept, which gives you the best of both worlds.  Billy Boyle was a cop in Boston before he gets shipped off to fight.  When two military officers from the army get murdered in Italy, he is called upon to find out who killed them.  The suspect has left behind clues in the form of playing cards: the ten of hearts and the jack of hearts.  It is up to Boyle to question others in the same Division, which will help him track down the criminal.  Unbeknownst to him, he could actually be speaking to the murderer, while trying to get his answers.  Amongst the terror that he has to face with guns and bombs, he now has an additional threat—the killer—who may just be watching his every move.

HisLit title read-alikes:
Did you like this book as much as I did?  Here are three others that you may be interested in:
Gallows Thief  by Bernard Cornwell
Astride a Pink Horse  by Robert Greer
Hell Hole by Chris Grabenstein

HisLit author read-alikes:
If you enjoy Benn’s style, here are other authors who write in a similar fashion:
-J. Robert Janes (Both Benn and Janes write historical mysteries set during World War II that use policemen as their sleuths.  The books have fully realized characters, strong period details, and strong plot lines that use the politics of the war.  Real people and events from the War are incorporated into the stories.  Start with: Kaleidoscope.)
-Caleb Carr (Stuffed with cameo appearances by historical figures, Caleb Carr’s literary mysteries/thrillers draw readers looking for something a little out of the ordinary. Whether they be historical or futuristic, Carr’s novels present a convincing atmosphere that submerges readers in the period.  Driven by storyline rather than characterization, Carr’s occasionally gruesome plotting is no less gripping for its subtly didactic bent.  Start with: The Alienist.)
-David Liss (Best known for his series starring ex-pugilist and thief taker Benjamin Weaver, David Liss writes bleak and moody historical novels that include elements of mystery, suspense, and adventure.  These densely written but compelling character-centered tales feature elaborately unfolding, issue-driven plots which often involve political corruption and intrigues; glorious dialog; lively rogues; and indomitable heroes, along with a wealth of intriguing historical details.  Dark, dramatic, and gritty, these novels explore the underside of society where violence is de rigueur, but wit and humor sometimes lighten the menacing atmosphere.  Start with: A Conspiracy of Paper.)

Using war as the backdrop to someone’s evil plans makes it convenient and perhaps less noticeable for crimes but in the end, the culprit is usually found out and the plots come to a clever close.  I liked Benn’s novel because I got to learn a bit about army life during a serious war and I also felt like I was watching an episode of M*A*S*H (even though it took place about a decade later and was set in South Korea during the Korean war).  The main difference being that Benn’s book is a mystery, while the T.V. show was a “Dramedy”.

This entry was posted in HisLit and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s