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Ping-Pong Heart (Hardcover)
Once again, in Ping-Pong Heart, Martin Limón’s released a firecracker of a book. 8th Army CID investigators George Sueño and Ernie Bascom begin with a case of an officer who claims to have been fleeced by a bar girl. From there we’re into a case that’s sparkling with malice – accusations, murder, attacks, and treason. As usual, Sueño and Bascom are caught in the midst of the mess trying to keep their superiors playcated and their enemies off balance.
There’s Mr. Kill the revered and feared investigator for the South Korean national police. There’s Miss Kim, the Korean national who keeps the CID office humming, and with whom Ernie does a delicate dance. There’s Doctor Yong and Dr. Prevault – the past and present paramours of George’s. There’s the added danger of love in this mix, treason of the heart as well as treason of country.
There’s the danger of going off-base, off the reservation, off kilter and off balanace. And, as with any situation these two steady detectives find themselves in, there’s the danger of perception and what the Army is or is not willing to sweep under the rug to, in the parlance of the East, save face.— JB
South Korea, 1974. US Army CID Sergeants George Sueno and Ernie Bascom are assigned an underwhelming case of petty theft: Major Frederick M. Schulz has accused Miss Jo Kyong-ja, an Itaewon bar girl, of stealing twenty-five thousand won from him--a sum equaling less than fifty US dollars. After two very divergent accounts of what happened, Miss Jo is attacked, and Schulz is found hacked to death only days later. Did tensions simply escalate to the point of murder?
Looking into other motives for Schulz's death, George and Ernie discover that the major was investigating the 501st Military Intelligence Battalion: the Army's counterintelligence arm, solely dedicated to tracking North Korean spies. The division is rife with suspects, but it's dangerous to speak out against them in a period of Cold War finger-pointing. As George and Ernie go head-to-head with the battalion's powerful, intimidating commander, Lance Blood, they learn that messing with the 501st can have very personal consequences.
About the Author
Martin Limon retired from military service after twenty years in the US Army, including ten years in Korea. He is the author of twelve books in the Sueno and Bascom series, including Jade Lady Burning, Slicky Boys, The Iron Sickle, The Ville Rat, The Nine-Tailed Fox, and the short story collection Nightmare Range. He lives near Seattle.