Publisher: Soho Crime (October, 2019)
A Sueño and Bascom Investigation (Book 14 of 14)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
South Korea: mid-1970’s. The delicate balance between the U.S. and South Korean relationship is threatened when three young men in U.S. Army uniform commit a brazen bank robbery. The American military needs a presence in Asia as the Cold War heats up, and it is in their best interests to bury this story ASAP. In a normal situation, the logical investigators would be CID agents George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, but this is not a normal situation. The duo is well-known for following the clues to the truth, wherever that might lead. Instead, two agents known to follow the company line, who will not dig up anything that might embarrass the Army, are chosen. If it can’t be proven that the men were American soldiers, then they weren’t. End of story.
Not to be deterred, Sueño and Bascom start their own investigation. Sueño is one of the few G.I.s in country who can speak Korean and understand and respect the culture. Their clandestine investigation is blown when Katy Byrd Worthington, a reporter for the Overseas Observer, ambushes them at the crime scene, taking their photo and splashing it on the front page of her tabloid. The Observer is not sanctioned by the U.S. military, and the command is not happy with the publicity about the bank robbery.
To get the guys out of the way, the brass sends them north to investigate a potentially embarrassing sex scandal involving a high-ranking Army officer, an equally high-ranking South Korean officer, and a truckload of young Caucasian women escorted by U.S. Army M.P.s. An incriminating photo was published by the Overseas Observer, and Katy demands to go with George and Ernie to interview the two generals. To their disgust, she gets permission to accompany them. The trouble on the DMZ is far worse than the command back in Seoul could even imagine. Between the tense situation on the border and the crazed bank robber intent on taking them out, George and Ernie are in more peril than they’ve ever been before. Their fate, and that of the two Koreas, hangs in the balance.Martin Limón, a career Army soldier, spent ten years in South Korea. Like his protagonists, he learned the language and immersed himself in the culture and history of the country during his time there. His deep knowledge of South Korea and the impact of the U.S. Army during its long tenure there, combined with his skill as a storyteller, has resulted in another fine entry in the series. Highly recommended.
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