by Martin Limon
Category: Fiction / Mystery
0 pages; ISBN: 1569473994
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Soho, May 2005
Twenty years have passed since the cease fire, but some things never change even when the demarcation line representing the front is not far away. For instance in the Itaewon red light district of Seoul, South Korea, the brass “protects” young soldiers from their own desires; Criminal Investigation Division Agents Corporal George Sueno and Sergeant Ernie Bascom are assigned to insure GIs do not barter liquor and cigarettes for sex.
However, Sueno and Bascom ignore the inane military rules; if a grunt wants to barter for local flavor they look the other way unless they perceive danger; that includes the "business girls". Thus when ally peddler Sooki tells them something bad happened, the twosome ignores duty and go into hero mode. They soon perceive a connection between thugs beating up a Buddhist nun and the kidnapping of nine year old Mi-ja, adopted daughter of former NCO Herman “Father” Burkowicz. That entangles the CID agents with the kidnapper’s quest to own a Ghengis Khan jade scull possessed by the self-anointed Queen of the Chinese Dragon Throne, who refuses all offers even violent ones.
BUDDHA’S MONEY feels like a madcap 1950s serial movie as the two agents dash from one incident to another in their quest to bring justice not military law to the back allies of Seoul in the 1970s. The two mavericks are at their best beating up bad guys, but their opponents are two dimensional stereotypes from B movies. Still this action packed pulp thriller provides a fine look at Korea during a period when Viet Nam is the hot spot and containment is America’s foreign policy.
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