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By Martin Limon

Soho Crime, May 2005 ($14.00) paperback
ISBN: 1-56947-399-4

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

BUDDHA'S MONEY is the third book in a series featuring George Sueno and Ernie Bascom, two military cops stationed in Korea in the 1970's. Both are mavericks, allowed to do things pretty much their own way, rather than the "army way" because their way gets results. In this case, they intervene in a brutal rape in progress of a Buddhist nun and try to find a kidnapped child who is being held for ransom. The ransom demanded is a priceless artifact -- a jade skull -- said to have once belonged to Kublai Khan.

This is an action-packed dark thriller. The brutal rapes and torture may put some readers off. Those with an interest in Korean culture will find the author is very adept at creating exotic scenes and bringing the Korean culture alive for the reader. One almost feels as if they, too, are scurrying through the alleys thronged with black marketeers and "business girls" -- women willing to trade their bodies for liquor or cigarettes.

The frenetic pace may turn some readers off, as will the violence. Others may find the entire plot line to be unbelievable. It's one of those books that some people will stop reading part way through and others will rush to the conclusion and want more. I can't say I "enjoyed" the book. I found it very disturbing, especially the violence and brutality of the rapes. Sexist as this may sound, I think this book will appeal to a certain type of reader but not to a wide audience. I imagine that former army or military types, mainly guys, will find the book a quick and entertaining read. For my money, I recommend Limon's first book, JADE LADY BURNING, for readers who want a thriller, with atmosphere and excitement, set in Korea.

The fourth book in this series, THE DOOR TO BITTERNESS, is scheduled to be published in September, 2005 by Soho Crime.

Mr. Limon is retired from U.S. military service. He spent 10 of his 20 service years in Korea.

Other titles in this series include: JADE LADY BURNING and SLICKY BOYS.
Please click on the above title to read a review of those books.

There is another review of BUDDHA'S MONEY. Please click here to read that review.

There is also an old interview with the author located in our morgue. Please click here to read that interview.

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