Jade Lady Burning
By Martin Limón
Soho Crime, 2011. 254 pgs. Mystery.
Ernie Bascom and George Sueno are members of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, stationed in Itaewon, South Korea. When they are called to investigate the death of a Korean prostitute because of her association with an American serviceman, Bascom and Sueno find that her death is quite unusual, and the U.S. Army is actually trying to close the case before all the evidence adds up. Clearly strings are being pulled behind the scenes to protect someone’s involvement, but whose?
When I opened this book I wanted to like it. I really did, but the pacing was quite slow and I found myself bored more often than not. This book is set right after the Korean War while there is still a very large American presence in South Korea, and while I imagine the author tried to keep the relations between Americans and Koreans historically accurate, I still found many things off-putting. Prostitution and gangs are central to this novel, so if that’s something you find distasteful, this isn’t something I would suggest picking up. Those who like mysteries that deal with the military may enjoy this book, but it wasn’t for me.