cover image Mr. Kill

Mr. Kill

Martin Limón. Soho Crime, $25 (368p) ISBN 978-1-56947-934-6

Set in South Korea in 1974, Limón’s excellent seventh mystery featuring U.S. Army investigators George Sueño and Ernie Bascom (after 2009’s G.I. Bones) richly illustrates how both loathsome and lucrative the American presence is to the Koreans. When Sueño and Bascom look into the rape of a young Korean mother in a bathroom aboard a crowded train traveling from Pusan to Seoul, witnesses claim the rapist was a U.S. serviceman, which the Army tries to deny. After a Korean woman is raped and murdered on the same train, the two rough-hewn sergeants are joined by enigmatic Korean Inspector Gil, who appears to be a mild-mannered Confucian gentleman, but lives up to his ruthless nickname, “Mr. Kill.” Meanwhile, the investigators’ attention is diverted to protecting members of a popular female country and western band who are concerned about peeping toms and petty thefts of equipment. A vivid view of Asia, from the Demilitarized Zone to the Yellow Sea, and an insightful look at the era lift this fine entry. (Dec.)