In 1943, in the midst of the brutal, hard-fought Solomon Islands campaign between the Allies and the Japanese forces, Lieutenant Billy Boyle receives an odd assignment. He’s sent by the powerful Kennedy family to investigate a murder in which PT skipper (and future president) Jack Kennedy has been implicated. The victim is a native coas...
In 1943, in the midst of the brutal, hard-fought Solomon Islands campaign between the Allies and the Japanese forces, Lieutenant Billy Boyle receives an odd assignment. He’s sent by the powerful Kennedy family to investigate a murder in which PT skipper (and future president) Jack Kennedy has been implicated. The victim is a native coastwatcher, an allied intelligence operative whom Kennedy discovered on the island of Tulagi with his head bashed in. That’s Kennedy’s story, anyhow. Kennedy was recovering in the Navy hospital on the island after the sinking of his PT-109 motor torpedo boat. The military hasn’t decided yet whether to make him a hero for surviving the attack, or have him court-martialed for losing the boat, and the last thing the Kennedy clan wants is a murder charge hanging over his head. Billy must sort through a tangled, shifting web of motives and identities, even as combat rages all around him.
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“Billy Boyle gets better and better. This is a must-read series.”
“Spirited wartime storytelling. Benn allows Boyle’s experiences to change him in ways both subtle and dramatic.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“James Benn has managed to not only write a first rate mystery, but also convey very accurately an era from history. Benn's Billy Boyle mysteries are always entertaining, filled with riveting characters, and beautifully plotted stories.... Benn's research is admirable and the expert way in which he uses this historical data to tell a riveting story is brilliant. The story has the feel of an old time adventure story, and Benn's marvelous dialogue brings the characters to life... I dare you not to read the other six novels. Historical mysteries just don't get any better than this. ”
“A complex tale that maps the human cost of warfare in the South Pacific — and delivers a deft portrait of a young Jack Kennedy struggling to recover from the losses of PT-109. Poignant and riveting.”
—Francine Mathews, author of JACK 1939
“The tension between a murder investigation and wartime action has always been at the heart of this series — How can one killing matter in a world where hundreds die every day? — but here it is ramped up to a new level, in terms of both suspense and character development. Working with recently declassified documents about the Solomon Islands Campaign, Benn spins an absolute corker of a war story. The best of an always satisfying series. ”
“[Benn's] characters are wonderfully drawn, especially his star duo but also in this case Jack Kennedy, not the easiest historical figure to capture convincingly. And his picture of the world of the Pacific Theater of the Second World War is terrifically evocative ... The White Ghost [is] a delicious summer hour's read. ”
“Benn's tightly woven plotting shines, along with his deft characterizations. Benn's writing keeps Billy Boyle and his investigation in the heart of traditional crime-solving terrain, with both history and military machinations (like radio networks) smoothly woven into the page-turning action ... a very satisfying read. ”
“Remarkable ... Benn’s research gives readers a you-are-there feeling about that long ago war, but the strongly developed characters always remain front and center. Readers will assume – with good reason – that our future president will not become the villain in The White Ghost, but Benn maintains suspense as we see both the charm and the ruthlessness of Kennedy. ”