THE COMMANDER

Patrick A. Davis, Author . Putnam $24.95 (371p) ISBN 978-0-399-14882-8

Davis's fourth novel is a chilling murder mystery set in Song-tan, South Korea, where racism, danger and corruption abound. Former air force criminal investigator Maj. Burt Webber is now a civilian living with his wife, Chung-hee, helping her run a jewelry store in the seedy bar district near a U.S. air base. He has resigned from the air force in disgust after a flap with his general over his own marriage to a foreign national. When a local bar girl is brutally murdered in a ritzy apartment, Burt's old pal, Col. Ray Johnson, asks him to help solve the crime. Strings are pulled to get him back on the job, but none of his superiors' assurances add up and he is not even sure who he is working for. Burt and his new partner, Lt. Susan Torres, a tough military cop, work closely with Sammy, a Korean police detective who has learned most of his English from American action movies. They believe that American and Korean officials want the case solved, but there's a stink of cover-up and conspiracy—after all, who really cares about another dead bar girl? Even Ray lies through his teeth, and it takes a while for Burt to realize he's been had. The truth is, nobody wants the murder solved, and Burt is just an expendable patsy in a game of geopolitics where saving face and promoting business are most important. Davis (The Colonel) combines convincing police procedure with plenty of head-scratching clues, twists and dead ends. His portrayal of South Korean culture is vivid and revealing, a superb backdrop for a bona fide thriller. Agent, Karen Solem. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 07/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-1-4516-0445-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 449 pages - 978-0-7434-7572-3
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