A Sueño and Bascom Investigation #13
Soho Crime, October 2018
There are two series of mysteries by Martin Limón that take place during or after wars in which the United States has participated. One is the wonderful Billy Boyle series, which takes place just before and during World War II. The other is the Sueño and Bascom investigations set in South Korea after the armistice. This, the 13th in the series, is the most dangerous one yet for the irreverent pair, taking them directly into conflict with the North Koreans at the DMZ.
They are tasked with going right up to the line dividing North and South because of the murder of a South Korean corporal assigned to U.S. troops. The body lies across the line and they drag it back to the south, nearly causing a new war on the peninsula. An American private eventually is blamed, to assuage the North Koreans, but neither Bascom nor Sueño believes him guilty. However, they are taken off the case (but that doesn’t stop them from pursuing it). Meanwhile, they have another case involving a bored wife of a Corps of Engineers Captain who goes missing.
The author, who served a decade in the Army in Korea, applies his intimate knowledge to the fullest extent with detailed knowledge not only of Army life, but the conditions of the South Korean population. Written plainly with clever plotting, the story will keep the reader turning pages until he/she reaches the extremely unexpected conclusion.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, October 2018.