George Sueño and Ernie Bascom return for their thirteenth outing, which takes them from Seoul to the DMZ in their most politically charged murder case yet.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone, 1970s: A battered corpse is found a few feet north of the line dividing North and South Korea. When 8th Army CID Agents George Sueño and Ernie Bascom pull the body to the South Korean side on orders from their superiors, they have no idea of the international conflict their action will spark. Before war breaks out, they must discover who killed Corporal Noh Jong-bei, a young Korean soldier working with the US Army.
The murderer could be on either side of the DMZ. But without cooperation between the governments involved, how can two US military agents interrogate North Korean witnesses? What George and Ernie discover gets them pulled off the case, but fearing they’ve put the wrong man behind bars, they disobey orders in an attempt to discover the truth.
The bludgeoning murder of Corporal Noh Jong-bei, a South Korean assigned to augment American forces, provides the latest high-stakes case for canny U.S. Army CID agents George Sue o and Ernie Bascom in Lim n's superb 13th investigation set in 1970s South Korea (after 2017's The Nine-Tailed Fox). The sensitive location of the body in the Joint Security Area separating the two Koreas exacerbates tensions: Noh's left boot is in South Korea, while the rest of him lies in North Korea. The temperature rises even more after Sue o and Bascom are ordered to retrieve the corpse, leading the North Korean army to go on high alert. The case doesn't get easier after they identify a person of interest, an American private who was dating the dead man's sister, and the truth about the private's culpability becomes secondary to their bosses. The maverick agents' efforts to defy authority take another hit when they're assigned to trace a major's missing wife. Lim n has never been better at incorporating a logical mystery plot into the politics of his chosen time and place.