Earl Norman

The Earl Norman books are becoming extremely rare, and publishers don’t seem to be interested in reprinting the series. The only way some of us may ever have all the stories is for collectors to scan and type the stories into PDF to swap with other collectors. I have already completed PDFs of HANG ME IN HONG KONG and KILL ME IN ROPPONGI. I am working on KILL ME IN YOKOSUKA. If other collectors would do the same for some of the other books, we could eventually have PDFs of all ten books. Why not help? I can be contacted at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Slicky Boys

Sueno & Bascom #2: “Slicky Boys” by Martin Limon. Army CID agents, Sgt. George Sueno and Sgt. Ernie Bascom work out of 8th Army Headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. In this second case, Sueno is now a corporal. Maybe he lost a stripe after the last case, but Bascom is still a sergeant. Still, it’s Sueno who leads the investigation. Bascom is merely a sounding board, and sometimes not even that. He really adds nothing to the cases. Plus, they are back together and back in Seoul, after separated and shipped to the DMZ when the last case was over. This time they are rooked into carrying a message to Cicil Whitcomb of the British Honor Guard for Miss Ku. When Whitcomb turns up murdered it throws suspicion on the CID boys, and they are hell-bent to solve the case. Even to the point of disobeying military orders and disobeying the Korean National Police. It is a good mystery, with lots of twists, but I just can’t accept these men as actual CID agents. I’ve known many from Korea to Europe, and the US in my twenty-year career as an Army military police NCO, but none acted like this pair. It’s almost like these men are civilian private detectives, doing what they want, when they want, and no one can stop them. The CID is better organized than this, and their agents work together, not against each other. Plus, they would have a superior Warrant Officer in charge of them, not the 1st Sergeant. Okay, with that said, if you like a good mystery, you will like this. Just don’t mistake these slouches as real CID. The “slicky boys” organization does play a small part in this yarn, but they’re not the real focus of the mystery. The killer is a rogue American naval officer (AWOL), a well-trained SEAL, acting on his own for the North Koreans. And the plot - to pass on top secret information on placement of atomic bombs in mountains between the south and north by the American Forces, to use in case North Korea again crosses the 38th into South Korea. I should say, unguarded nukes, at that. The locations are only known by the general command – unless the killer can get the info north. Can you imagine unguarded nukes between the north and south, and just how long that would remain secret? Please. America’s power is in its delivery system, not left unguarded where someone might – and could – stumble upon them! The author knows Korea; I’ll give him that. It is said that you must suspend your imagination to enjoy fiction. Perhaps, but I prefer some semblance of reality to any world I enter. Good mystery, good characterization (just not accurate), and will keep the reader turning the pages.

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