cover image Buddha's Money

Buddha's Money

Martin Limon. Bantam Books, $22.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-553-10444-8

An assault on a Buddhist nun and the abduction of the Korean daughter of an American serviceman lead Ernie Bascom and George Sueno into their latest cliffhanger (after Slicky Boys), this time in search of a jade head that bears a map to the lost tomb of Genghis Khan. Everybody--the Mongol worshippers of the Demon Buddha Mahakala; the followers of the peaceful Maitreya Buddha; and the distantly beautiful Lady Ahn, the current descendant of the last owner of the jade head--wants that head. Lady Ahn wants the two agents for the Army's Criminal Investigation Division to steal the jade skull from the island hideaway where it is being guarded by yet another set of Buddhist monks. Meanwhile, the partners have an assailant to catch (before the victim immolates herself in protest) and a little girl to be saved (the Mongols threaten to kill her if the jade head isn't in their hands by the night of the full moon). There are more than enough plots (and reversals and complications) for three novels in this romp. And although readers might be excused for imagining that Bascom and Sueno are the only two people in Korea who know what they're doing, that's all part of Limon's style, which might be described as unequal parts hard-boiled procedural and action-packed adventure. (May) FYI: Bantam is promoting Buddha's Money with a 16-page excerpt in the paperback edition of Slicky Boys (on sale in April).