Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sergeants Sueno and Bascom: The Collected Storeis

I've long been a fan of Martin Limon's series featuring Sergeants George Sueno and Ernie Bascom. The two are U.S. Army detectives, stationed in the South Korea of the 1970s. They are assigned to investigate crimes involving U.S. military personnel, which often places them at odds with the Korean National Police and with their own bosses. 

The U.S. Army and the North Koreans are principally concerned with maintaining good relations between our two countries, even if this occasionally means sweeping some unpleasantness, like the occasional odd murder, under the rug. However, Sueno, who is the brains of the pair, and Bascom who provides the muscle, are concerned first and foremost with securing whatever justice can be wrung out of a situation. And if somebody's toes get stepped on in the process, that's just too damn bad. This means that they often wind up pursuing an investigation to its logical conclusion over the objections of both the KNP and the Army brass. It also means that they are often in hot water with both.

Through the years, Limon has published a number of short stories featuring the pair, and this book brings them all together. There are seventeen stories in the collection and, like the novels, these stories provide a rich insight into the society and culture of both South Korea and the U.S. Army of the period. Limon spent twenty years in the Army, including ten in South Korea, and so he knows the country and the people well, not to mention the Army itself. These stories will appeal principally to people who enjoy the novels, but if you're a fan of crime fiction and haven't met Sergeants Sueno and Bascom yet, you should probably do yourself a favor and seek them out.

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