What’s worse than waking up in an alley without your badge and sidearm? Realizing that they’ve been used to commit a felony.
When U.S. Army CID Agent George Sueño learns that the person who robbed the casino at Inchon’s Olympos Hotel had used his identification to gain entrance to the cashier’s cage, then his .45 to blast Olympos dealer Han Ok-hi, his initial fears of mere court-martial are dwarfed by a more chilling possibility: that he was targeted from the first by the smiling “business woman” who spotted him drinking alone, drugged him into compliance and led him out to the alley where he was picked clean. Reprieved from immediate dismissal by a no-nonsense general who thinks they’re his best bet to stop what looks like a serious crime spree, George and his pal Ernie Bascom go after the gun and its new owners, smiling Yun Ai-ja and her brother Kong. The motive for their killings isn’t much more mysterious than their identity, and Limón (Slicky Boys, 1997, etc.) continues to evoke settings more memorable than characters. What lingers longest in George and Ernie’s odyssey is the grinding poverty, pride and moral compromise they find in 1974 Korea, matched this time by a shame so deep that George is relieved to hear that at least it wasn’t his gun that killed the fourth victim.
A bitter brew fueled by acrid insights on the dehumanizing force of the lasting American presence in Korea.