"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Door to Bitterness

This is the fourth in Martin Limón’s fabulous noir detective series featuring army investigators Chicano George Sueños and his partner Ernie Bascomb set in the sleazy underbelly of the Korea of the 1970’s. The writing is fast-paced, hard-boiled, gruff and gritty. It is direct and to the point but underneath it all there is a poignancy and haunting beauty.

In this story, George Sueños meets a mad and beautiful Eurasian woman in a bar and ends up waking up in an alley missing his badge and his pistol. After a murder/robbery is committed using his gun, it is up to the pair to track down the murderers and get back the weapon to keep George from being court-martialed. The hunt to find the killers is filled with plot twists and surprises, taking the reader into the dark bars, brothels and the Korean black market all brought vividly to life. George and Ernie must also deal with the Korean police and government investigating the same crime.

It is an uncommon setting told from a clipped and fascinating viewpoint. Limón is a retired Army officer who was himself stationed in Korea.

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