The sixth book in Sally Wright’s Christian but not preachy Ben Reese mystery series is a prequel. In Code of Silence, we get to see Ben – university archivist and former World War II Army scout, in 1957, handling his first civilian mystery. We observe him enduring the wrenching loss of his wife in childbirth, and watch as his friend Richard West looks about desperately for some project that will help Ben re-engage with the living.
That project appears in the form of a letter and a package from Carl Walker, a man Ben barely knew. Nevertheless, Carl knew something of Ben’s background, and sent him a letter, books, and the key to a code. Ten years before, Carl had been in love with a linguist who worked for American intelligence. She died, and it was marked down as suicide. Carl was certain that she was murdered by a Russian double agent. Carl knew who the man was, but lacked sufficient evidence to prove it. Now the man has reappeared, and Carl has disappeared.
Suffering from both grief and a head injury incurred early in the story, Ben is nevertheless drawn into the mystery. Before it’s over it will become more than an intelligence cold case, but a race for life to save two innocent people.
I think Code of Silence was my favorite of the entire Ben Reese series to date. Ben’s an interesting character, and the story is suffused with moral indignation over the very real acts of treason performed by a number of known American traitors during the 1950s.
Cautions for mildly intense scenes involving torture. Highly recommended.