Showing posts with label Limon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Limon. Show all posts

Sunday, March 11, 2018

High Explosive, by Martin Limon

"High Explosive," by Martin Limón, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, March-April 2018.

This is Martin Limón's fourth appearance here.  I am a big fan of  his stories about George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, two Army CID officers in South Korea sometime in the mid-seventies, combating deadly soldiers, corrupt civilians, and bosses more concerned with the chain of command than the chain of evidence.

In this case the National Police's chief investigative officer, Mr. Kill,has called them in because a cab driver was robbed and badly beaten by three young American men. Who could they be but some of the G.I.'s in the country?  Worse, the cabbie's passenger was kidnapped with the car: a young woman.   

And so Sueño and Bascom are on a desperate search to find three soldiers out of 50,000, before something terrible and terminal happens to their victim.  

Limón spent ten years in the army in Korea - although not a cop like his heroes a and as they think through the problem (Who would have had access to diesel to burn up the cab?  Which of the dozens of army bases were large enough to hide a woman on but small enough that the guards might let you get away with it?) it is clear that he knows his subject matter thoroughly.

A terrific story.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

PX Christmas, by Martin Limón

"PX Christmas," by Martin Limón, in The Usual Santas,  Soho Crime, 2017.

Martin Limón writes exclusively about Asia and most of his novels and stories are set in South Korea in some vague part of the 1970s.  His heroes, George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, are investigators for the CID of the American Eighth Army.  

This story involves two events that come together.  The Army decides that suicides brought on by holiday depression are bad publicity so the cops are assigned to collect soldiers suspected of being depressed and making sure they are cared for. 

"They'll be locked up," Ernie said.
Riley glared at him.  "Not locked up.  They'll be provided extra care.  And extra training."

And not allowed to leave until after the holidays.

Meanwhile the CID has also been ordered to crack down on the black market.  Specifically Korean wives of GIs using their PX privileges to pick up subsidized goods which they can then sell.  Sueño thinks this campaign has less to do with saving tax dollars and more to do with officers not wanting to see Korean women on the base.

It was my job, and Ernie's to arrest these women for black marketing and thus keep the world safe for Colonels and their wives to be able to buy all the Tang and Spam and Pop Tarts their little hearts desired.

Neither of these cases may sound like they will result in riots, encounters with a man named Mr. Kill, and tying someone to a railroad track, but our heroes have a way of following a trail wherever it leads.

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."