SLICKY BOYS by Martin Limón


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 Corporal George Sue§o and Sergeant Ernie Bascom, scapegrace hotshots in the US Army's CID, join forces with the South Korean mob to bring a vicious murderer to book: a gritty, gripping follow- up to Lim¢n's debut procedural (Jade Lady Burning, 1992). When a British soldier is brutally murdered in mid-1970s Seoul, George (a savvy latino from East L.A. who's mastered the Korean language) and Ernie (a violence-prone Vietnam vet) maneuver frantically to get a piece of the investigative action; their ardor is attributable to the potentially embarrassing fact that an unidentified young woman had bribed them to pass the victim a note that sent him to his rendezvous with death. Once on the case, the two coupled sleuths realize they need more help than either the police or even their superiors can provide. At no small cost in blood and effort, George and Ernie make contact with the enigmatic eminence who controls the underworld organization known as the Slicky Boys. The crimelord (who calls himself the Herbalist So) sets them on a twisty path that leads through the capital city's flossier fleshpots and back alleys to the headquarters of the fledgling republic's seagoing service. Several homicides later, the NCOs discover that their man is not simply a black-market profiteer who killed out of panic. Indeed, dogged detective work reveals that he's a dangerous deserter from the American Navy who's probably selling military secrets to the Communist North. Cerebral George almost dies in a showdown confrontation with the cold-blooded turncoat for whom they've baited an irresistible trap, but Ernie (who lost round one to their quarry) drags himself from a hospital bed in time to get revenge and save his partner. An above-average trackdown tale made memorable by dashes of local color as pungent as kimchee.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-553-10443-8
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1997


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