Korea Blue

Thomas C. Utts, Author Signet Book $4.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-451-16970-9
This whodunit is set on an Air Force base in Korea during the Vietnam War. Captain Mike Hunter's best friend and copilot, Paul Crandell, is found dead, and Hunter has reason to believe he was murdered. Was it a local from the nearby village, which served up sex and pleasure to American troops? Or someone jealous of Crandell's yobo (Air Force slang for a Korean woman), Kim Soon Ja? Hunter's search for the truth is particularly fruitful; not only does he solve the murder, but he gets Kim Soon Ja in the bargain. While witty in places, this novel never really comes to life, and Korea as a setting for a Vietnam-era novel isn't fully exploited. While Utts exposes the racism inherent in the relations between American troops and Asian women, some might determine that his treatment is offensive: an officer talking about his yobo says, ``When I unloaded all those cosmetics her eyes damn near turned American.'' This first novel by an Air Force veteran provides several credible descriptions of the life of the base and the surrounding village, but that's not enough to make it worth reading. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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