Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Read: "First Wave" by James R. Benn

Read: First Wave by James R. Benn, 2007, 9781569474716.

Quite good. I read this thinking it was the first in the series. It is not. Benn does good work.

Billy Boyle is riding one of the leading landing craft of the invasion of North Africa. Boyle and Major Harding are trying to broker a deal with the French Army to stand down against the invasion force. Boyle and Harding are riding with a Fenchie officer when they are captured local fascist cops. Boyle sees girly-friend secret agent Diana also captured. Boyle and Harding freed but Diana whisked away. Shortly afterwards a hospital supply is murdered in what looks like a theft of morphine and the ultra-secret, ultra-new, first time deployed penicillin.

Boyle investigates the supply clerk murder and the drug ring that points to spies. Boyle ties in the drug ring to Diana's capture. Boyle invades Bone on a Brit Navy patrol boat and rescues Diana with help of Brit Commandos. Diana mentally messed up from rape, drugging, and kidnap. Boyle solves murder case and catches thief. Bad guy Vichy who kidnapped Diana is killed. I think. I read this a while ago.

1. The culprit on the US Army side of the hospital murder and theft was easy to spot. Benn made it clear early in the story.
2. Army Nurses were treated like crap. They received half pay per official policy and even though they were officers no men were required to salute them.
3. The Allies cut deals cut with the ant-semite Vichy collaborators. Fucking scumbags. Eisenhower had to get them on board so his rear areas would be secured and allow the U.S. and English Armies to charge eat to fight the krauts. That DeGaulle was seen as traitorous, by some, to leave the country and fight on is surprising.
4. Good villains in the Vichy frogs and their black arm-banded civilian thugs.

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