The unusually brutal killing--she was evidently bound, skewered, and set afire--of Pak Ok-suk, a budding lady of the evening in Seoul, poses such a p.r. problem for the American Army personnel she was so intimate with that Sgts. George Sue§o and Ernie Bascom are pulled off the black-market detail to investigate (read: cover up) the case's implications. George and Ernie find pretty much what you'd expect: Miss Pak's G.I. fiancÇ, whom the Army command wants to railroad for the job; her experienced protector, Kimiko, who leads them to a daisy- chain of corrupt officers and government officials under both flags; and assorted thugs who want the case closed right now. Authentic low-life Korean backgrounds don't entirely compensate for this first novel's predictable plot and flat characters (Ernie, who's supposed to be violent and crazy, hardly leaves a footprint). You won't be sorry when George ends his tour of Seoul by getting assigned to the DMZ up north.