Showing posts with label Limón. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Limón. Show all posts

Sunday, March 15, 2015

First Dragon, by Martin Limón

"First Dragon," by Martin Limón, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, April 2015.

I think this may be the first fiction my friend Martin Limón has written that is not set in Korea.  For
this new series he slipped a few miles over the border into Manchuria.

Il Yong, the title character, is the son of an American serviceman and a Korean mother, who did various classified jobs for Defense contractor and is now the head of security for a medical missionary group.  They are supposed to be helping the Chinese peasants but they don't turn away starving North Korean refugees who slip over from the Hermit Kingdom.

But that's not the current problem.  A group of Manchurian bandits have kidnapped an American nurse.  Il Yong has both professional and personal reasons to want to get her back, no matter the danger.

Fascinating story.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Queen of Yongju-gol, by Martin Limón

"The Queen of Yongju-gol," by Martin  Limón, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine,
November 2013.

As I said last time I reviewed one of Martin's stories here, all of his books are set in South Korea in the 1970s.  In this tale he has changed time but not place, and his series characters, two army investigators, are nowhere to be seen.  Instead the hero is Roh Yonk-bok, one of the wealthiest men in Korea.

But, as we learn, he didn't start out that way.  He was able to get an education only through  money sent back home from his big sister who was working as a bar girl in Yongju-gol, a community that served American G.I.'s, where Koreans were forbidden as customers.  One day his sister disappeared and now, years later, Roh is determined to find out what happened to her.

It is a dark tale, full of betrayal and hard-learned cynicism.

"Canyou trust these people, sir?"
Roh turned to look at his bodyguard.  He was a faithful man -- in fact chosen for that quality -- and competent at his job, but he had little imagination.
"They want money, don't they?" Roh replied.
"Yes, sir."
"Then I have trust.  Not for them but for their greed."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Beehive Round, by Martin Limón

"Beehive Round" by Martin Limón, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, September 2012.

I remember Martin at an MWA-NW meeting in Seattle many years ago telling us that his novel Jade Lady Burning was being published.  That book, and all those that have followed, are about two CID officers (army detectives) in Korea in the mid-seventies.

So when I started this story and saw that it was set in the same time and place I was patienly expecting Sergeants Sueño and Bascom to arrive.  They don't.  The crime this time is solved by Vern Kruckman, a newly-retired sergeant. 

Like the cliche of the retired firehorse reacting to a bell, Kruckman leaps out of bed when an alert is sigalled.  Unable to sleep he goes outside and this puts him in the right place at the right time to discover a murder.  Both the Korean police and the U.S. army would be happy to cover it up for their own reasons, but Kruckman, with time on his hands, and a sense of duty to the other soldiers, keeps after it.

Limón is a master of setting.  He gives you all the details you need to believe in this foreign and forty-year old situation.