When young Jack Kennedy stands accused of murder, it falls to Billy Boyle to exonerate the future president of the U.S. and find the real killer.
August 1943. Lt. Boyle, who tells his story in a characteristically snappy first person, is summoned to Casablanca on a secret directive from the War Department. Who should be waiting for him but "Joe Goddamn Kennedy"? Young Jack Kennedy has lost PT-109 and stands accused of killing Australian serviceman Daniel Tamana. All of this happened in the Solomon Islands, where Billy and sidekick Kaz make tracks pronto. They find Jack Kennedy in the hospital, noticeably thinner but mostly the same handsome charmer he's always been and adamant that he didn't kill Tamana. Because of native burial traditions, Billy and Kaz are able to examine Tamana's preserved head and locate the fatal wound. It's not long before they're skirmishing with a Japanese patrol. Though Kennedy doesn't seem to be the prime suspect after all, the inveterate investigator in Billy kicks in when he learns of another victim, Sam Chang, who may have been connected to Tamana. A promise to Chang's beautiful sister seals the deal. The solution to the mystery involves Chinese gangs, chicanery regarding the sinking of PT-109, and many questions about Tamana's secretive nature.
Billy's 10th case (The Rest Is Silence, 2014, etc.) features a delicious premise, a full-bodied portrait of young JFK, and a beautifully textured look at military life in World War II.