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Wandering Ghost Hardcover – November 1, 2007

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The turbulent Korean peninsula provides the backdrop to this fine military mystery, the fifth (after 2005's The Door to Bitterness) to feature U.S. Army criminal investigation agents George Sueño and Ernie Bascom. A crack combat unit stationed near the strife-torn demilitarized zone proves strangely uncooperative when a military policewoman disappears. The missing soldier had made herself unpopular with her chain of command when she attempted to testify against two GIs who accidentally killed a Korean schoolgirl while speeding. As Sueño and Bascom dig past the obfuscation, they uncover an unsavory mix of black marketeering, sexual harassment, corruption, rape and murder, risking disgrace in their quest to find their fellow cop before it's too late. Limón, a veteran who spent 10 years stationed in the Republic of Korea, captures precisely the experience and atmosphere of the tension that exists between the American military and South Korean society, two vastly different worlds bound together only by realpolitik. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In their fifth outing, agents George Sueno and Ernie Bascom, of the Eighth Army Criminal Investigations Division in Seoul, Korea, are sent to Camp Casey, on Korea's Demilitarized Zone. Their assignment: find a female MP—the second Division's first female MP—who has gone missing. What they immediately find is palpable hostility to their presence and evidence that criminal activities abound at Camp Casey: sexual harassment of female soldiers, black marketeering, and possibly murder. With an investigative technique that is as subtle as frontal assault, mayhem ensues, again and again, with Sueno and Bascom barely escaping death each time. The great strength of this novel is the author's painfully and chillingly plausible portrait of Korea and the U.S. army. Korea is portrayed as beautiful but poor and dependent on U.S. dollars and military protection. The army is shown to be an arrogant bureaucracy largely contemptuous of Korea and its people. Fans of crime and military fiction may find this an eye-opener. Gaughan, Thomas

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; 1st edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569474818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569474815
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By T. Berner on December 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
People read mysteries for plot, setting or characters. You're usually lucky to find a writer who satisfies with two out of three of these elements, but Martin Limon is one of the few mystery writers who does well on all three. His police procedural plots reflect the thought processes of the solid investigator that he was when he was in the military and he captures the odd clash of cultures between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. Army of the 1970s. Sueno and Bascombe, his characters are a wonderful combination of brains and brawn. Both characters came from bad childhoods to find a home in the Army. Particularly affecting is Agent Sueno's continuing discovery of Korean culture.

That said, I agree with the two other critics. One suspects that Mr. Limon's agent bullies him into over the top scenes in order to sell his books to the movies (a roller coaster ride in a mine car in Buddha's Gold and, here, the destruction of a 30 foot statue of an MP by an armored vehicle). He is too fine a writer to have to rely on such grandstanding to produce solid entertainment. Also, his two characters have made the military a career and Mr. Limon clearly appreciates the finer aspects of military life, so he should acknowledge that along the way. True, the military, especially in the 1970s, had a rough time of it, but one of the attractions of his heroes is that they try to uphold the military virtues against a host of bad guys.

Still, no Limon is worth passing up. You always have plot, setting and character.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ray J. Palen Jr. VINE VOICE on July 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Martin Limon has been credited with writing "the best military mysteries in print today" by best-selling author, Lee Child. With THE WANDERING GHOST, the 5th novel in the Sergeants Sueno & Bascom mystery series, he continues his exemplary track record with a thoroughly engaging mystery taking place within the American military camps located in Korea during the early/mid 1970's.

George Sueno and Ernie Bascom are Civilian Detectives (CID Unit) who are charged with investigating any criminal matters involving members of the U.S military that are stationed around Korea. In THE WANDERING GHOST, they are tasked with an assignment to locate Corporal Jill Matthewson - the only female MP to a base in the Korean DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) who has gone missing. During the start of their investigation of her Camp (the 2nd Infantry Unit), they find out that another MP, Marvin Druwood, had been found dead on the Camp's obstacle course --- the victim of an apparent suicide. The leaders of the Camp try to paint a picture of Druwood committing suicide due to being rejected by MP Matthewson. However, Sueno and Bascom do not follow this line of reasoning as they search Druwood's corpse to find residue of concrete lodged in his skull --- the obstacle course has no concrete.

A letter from a U.S. congressman, sent on behalf of Corporal Matthewson's mother in the U.S., is what prompts the investigation. Sueno and Bascom feel that the leaders of her Camp --- specifically Colonel Alcott and Desk Sergeant Bufford --- are all to ready to dismiss the Matthewson case as a mere AWOL and wrap things up quick and tidy. As the investigation continues, Sueno and Bascom discover that Jill took a second job as a patrol-person for a Korean village called Tongduchon located near her camp.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. CROSBY on January 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I stumbled upon this book at my local library. Now I'll have to read all of the series. What hooked me was the location of this novel. I served in The 2nd Inf. Div, 2nd Med. Batt. Camp Casey (Tongduchon)Korea from Nov.1972 to Dec of 1973 (13 months). I was 18 when I arrived and in my 19th year when I left. I forgot all about that place and never gave it a second thought over the decades until this book. Even though it is a crime novel I grinned pretty much the entire time I read it. It brought back a flood of bitter sweet memories: "The Ville" "TDC" "The Crack" and Dragons Teeth and Quanset huts and starched fatigues...it goes on and on. As Bob Hope sang "Thanks for the memories" Mr. Limon. You hit the nail on the head for that era and place I think. I never thought I'd see anything in print about 2ID c.1973. Wow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James L. Thane on February 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the fifth book in Martin Limon's excellent series set in the South Korea of the 1970s and featuring George Sueno and Ernie Bascom, two Army officers from the Criminal Investigations Division. Sueno, the narrator, is the brains of the pair and the one who will usually attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the difficult situations in which he and his partner all too often find themselves. Bascom has the shorter fuse and would sooner use his brawn rather than his brains, and together they made a powerful team.

In this case, the two are dispatched to Camp Casey, near the DMZ, to find Corporal Jill Matthewson, the only female MP on the base and one of the few in the Army at that time. Matthewson has disappeared; the investigators on the base itself have been unable to find her; Matthewson's mother has written to her congressmen seeking his help, and thus Sueno and Bascom have been dispatched from HQ in Seoul to assist in the investigation.

Upon arriving at the base, they get a pretty frigid reception and it soon becomes clear that the Powers That Be don't seem to be all that interested in finding Matthewson. As usual, Sueno and Bascom are less than impressed by the PTB, and are determined to complete their mission in spite of the obstacles that are thrown up in their way.

Before long, it becomes clear that the Case of the Missing Corporal is only the tip of a very rotten iceberg at Camp Casey. Sueno and Bascom are resolved to unearth and expose the corruption and other crimes that seem to permeate the base and to find Jill Matthewson as well. But before long, their own careers and lives are in grave danger as they press ahead with an investigation that a lot of people would rather be short circuited.
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