RARA-AVIS: Re: RARA-AVIS Digest V2 #747

Reed Andrus (randrus@home.com)
Sat, 08 May 1999 06:38:02 -0700 > From: Mbdlevin@aol.com
> Subject: RARA-AVIS: Martin Limon, Jade Lady Burning
> I just read Martin Limon's first novel, "Jade Lady Burning." It's a
> hard-boiled police procedural set in Korea. The cops are Army CID. I
> thought it was quite strong, though it fell off a bit at the end (or perhaps
> rushed itself a bit--a matter more of pacing than events). A while back we
> discussed how hard-boiled works in an exotic (to Americans?) locale--well, it
> works in this book. Anyone have the scoop on Limon. I think he has at least
> one other book. Is it as good?
> Best,
> Doug

He's written three books featuring CID officers George Sueno and Ernie
the first one, liked it reasonably well, but maybe more for the fact
that I spent 13 months (minus a few weeks in a different Asian country)
right smack in the Itaewon section of Seoul back in 1968-69. The
majority of the ambience is correct. I have a number of stories about
that experience -- drunken Turks on the UN peacekeepering force throwing
an offending (equally drunken) black US soldier under a moving kim-chi
bus; kiting around after curfew with a pair of Brits whose jeep was
fortunate enough to bear diplomatic license plates; watchin a group of
slumming officers and their wives/girlfriends get hooked up with a
well-known (and accepted) Korean transvestite in one of the bars Limon
mentions, and letting the scenario play out until one of the (drunken,
slumming) officers started kissing the Korean big time on the dance
floor. Grinning ear to ear, I whispered over to them, "Um... you
probably ought to know. That girl isn't exactly a girl." The look on
their faces was priceless. As they pulled the guy off the dance floor
and exited the bar in disgust, half the occupants were laughing so hard
their OB beer bottles rolled off the table and broke.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a unique set
of times. Limon does a pretty good job recapturing it.

... Reed
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