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Jade Lady Burning (A Sergeants Sueño and Bascom Novel) Paperback – October 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: A Sergeants Sueño and Bascom Novel
  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781616950903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616950903
  • ASIN: 1616950900
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A dense wallow in the sleazy, labyrinthine decadence of Vietnam War-era Seoul, South Korea, in the company of army investigators Ernie Bascom and George Sueno gives this debut mystery a unique atmosphere. Unfortunately Limon, himself a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea for 10 years, moves his narrative forward at a strangely leisurely pace. The two barely moral sleuths trudge through an endless succession of dark bars, propositioning or being propositioned by the local business girls (the negotiations lead to deals on several occasions), all the while asking questions about the brutal murder of Miss Pak 0k-suk. Limon renders an unforgettable setting and a nasty killing into which the local authorities and military bigshots seem reluctant to pry, gives us a patsy in the shape of the victim's seared GI fianee and creates sympathy for Kimiko, an older local woman who is trying to survive in a young girl's market. But the plot lags, and Limon underutilizes Bascom, whose innocent-looking puss conceals a classic crime-fiction psychotic. A mixed-bag first effort, with an evocative setting and a sluggish pace.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

George and Ernie pal around as military investigators for the Eighth Army in Korea, making daily visits to Itaewon for bars, booze, and "business" women. When an American serviceman apparently murders a young Korean woman, they use their unusual contacts to find clues but stumble on evidence of a conspiracy aimed at grabbing millions of dollars in army contracts instead. Limon's clipped narrative style fits the military life he describes and the duo's methodology as well. A competent and promising first novel with a unique setting.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
Probably very similar to South Vietnam during that war.
Bob Watts
I will look forward to reading the next two books by this author, and recommend this to anyone who likes suspense and intrigue mixed in with an exotic background.
C. Joan Villanueva
The fact that the author could make the novel move at a Korean pace was a brilliant bit of writing that makes the setting absolutely believable.
Colin P. Lindsey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Colin P. Lindsey VINE VOICE on July 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a simply fantastic novel!! Noir, dark and darkly humorous, gritty, seedy, pulsing with human vice and need, and chock-full of knuckle-dusting action, gun fire, and labyrinthine mystery. The story line revolves about two men, military detectives, investigating the steaming underbelly of the local black market Korean/American military economy and the concurrent trade in prostitution, despite the endearing fact that they themselves are active and daily participants in the party. The characterization in Jade Lady Burning is superb, authenticity in setting and detail perfect, the action is exciting, the characters memorable, the story and plot excellent.

To this day I find it mind-boggling that this book and author have been so completely overlooked by both the publishing mainstream and the general readership. There are few delights more enjoyable that stumbling upon a book and author you have never heard of that is so wonderful, enjoyable, and captivating that it catapaults straight to your all-time favorite lists. Finding and reading this book was a revelatory experience like waking in July to Christmas morning, or finding an overlooked bottle of stupendous, world-class wine and buying the entire stock of six cases for $12 a bottle (Yamhill Valley 96 Pinot in case anyone is interested.) Yet books like this should be shared and savored by all.

Despite the puzzling lack of popular acclaim, this book is easily one of my favorite reads. I found it in the public library seven or eight years ago, devoured it, and then went on to read his next two as quickly as possible. What a thrill ride! Since then I have been disappointed that the author, Martin Limon, has not published any other novels....
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. Joan Villanueva on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the more original mysteries I have read. As a foreigner who has lived in Korea for three years, I still learned a thing or two from the author reading this book and enjoyed hearing about the dark side of Korea. Although presently things have really changed since the timing of the book, I still walked around Itaewon afterwards and spotted some of the places Limon had mentioned. You also end up having a love-hate relationship with the main character, he obviously feels bad for the prostitutes he comes in contact with and seems to care for their welfare, but yet doesn't mind going into a whorehouse for a quick screw and every woman he comes into contact with, whether a working girl or not, is quickly rated on her appearence. The main character also seems to carry around a lot of the stereotypical attitudes military men here seem to have, but yet he also has learned to immerse himself in the culture and language and seems to have great respect for Korea. I will look forward to reading the next two books by this author, and recommend this to anyone who likes suspense and intrigue mixed in with an exotic background.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Set in what looks to be 1970s-era Seoul, Limon's debut is a highly enjoyable procedural featuring two well-drawn US army CID officers. Normally confined to busting up black market operations, the two must battle army bureaucracy while trying to solve the murder of one of the hundreds of prostitutes who live off US GIs. The book is excellent at exploring the relationship between the army and the local service economy that it supports, and Limon's service in Korea brings raw authenticity to every page. Limon's use of both Korean and US army culture in service of the plot makes this well worth reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JengaJ on January 31, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
A murder mystery is, I find, an excellent way to explore different cultural terrains or historical eras. The reader turns the pages breathlessly to find out whodunnit, and in the meantime, soaks up new information about country, language, culture, and history. This proves to be the case here.

This is an intriguing novel set in Korea in the 1970's, as seen exclusively (and narrowly) from the American GI's perspective. Having served in Korea myself in the military justice system, and having Korean heritage, I can say that the author nails that perspective dead on. The bar culture off base, the prostitution, the seediness, it was there during my tour in the late 80's, and I have no doubt it was even more prevalent in the 70's in which this novel is set. The author also succeeded admirably in how he evoked military life, the way the criminal investigation division is set apart from the rest of the Army, how the bureaucracy works, and how the military interacts with Korean business and contracting. I also enjoyed his take on the military "black market" - in which young soldiers are persuaded to sell duty-free PX goods to Korean black marketeers off base, and are caught and punished by the military justice system, while the Koreans turn to the next round of young soldiers.

The murder mystery itself is solid, though within the mainstream of police procedurals in military settings involving independent-minded military detectives. The main characters are tough, hard-drinking, and just this-side of sympathetic. I wanted to know more about them - I guess we'll get to know more about what makes them tick in subsequent novels, though I'll have to think about whether I take up another one, because....

The point of view for this novel is, I find, a bit too limiting for me.
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More About the Author

At seventeen, Martin Limon joined the army and served briefly as a reporter for the Pacific Stars & Stripes in Seoul, Korea. During five tours in Korea, he studied the language, traveled the country from the DMZ to the Yellow Sea, and was personally embroiled in the clash of cultures on this trip-wire edge of the American empire. His first novel, Jade Lady Burning, was published by Soho Press in 1992 and was selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. The series features 8th Army detectives George Sueno, from East L.A., and Ernie Bascom, a native of the suburbs of Detroit.

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