cover image The Line

The Line

Martin Limón. Soho Crime, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-61695-966-1

The bludgeoning murder of Corporal Noh Jong-bei, a South Korean assigned to augment American forces, provides the latest high-stakes case for canny U.S. Army CID agents George Sueño and Ernie Bascom in Limón’s superb 13th investigation set in 1970s South Korea (after 2017’s The Nine-Tailed Fox). The sensitive location of the body in the Joint Security Area separating the two Koreas exacerbates tensions: Noh’s left boot is in South Korea, while the rest of him lies in North Korea. The temperature rises even more after Sueño and Bascom are ordered to retrieve the corpse, leading the North Korean army to go on high alert. The case doesn’t get easier after they identify a person of interest, an American private who was dating the dead man’s sister, and the truth about the private’s culpability becomes secondary to their bosses. The maverick agents’ efforts to defy authority take another hit when they’re assigned to trace a major’s missing wife. Limón has never been better at incorporating a logical mystery plot into the politics of his chosen time and place. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyons Literary. (Oct.)