A George Sueño and Ernie Bascom Short Story Collection by Martin Limón
Review: Nightmare Range is a collection of previously published short stories featuring George Sueño and Ernie Bascom by Martin Limón. The characters are currently featured in a series of novels by the same publisher.
Sergeant George Sueño, a young Mexican American, and his partner Sergeant Ernie Bascom are army detectives in the CID (Criminal Investigation Division) stationed on the US 8th Army Base in South Korea in the early 1970s. Although there was an armistice in 1953, no peace treaty had ever been signed and the nations of North and South Korea technically remain at war. A demilitarized zone was set up along the 38th parallel and it has become one of the busiest places on earth with thousands of men, tanks, and artillery pieces pointed at each other over mine fields and barbed wire fences with fingers on the triggers 24 hours a day. The war had been over for almost 20 years but it still lingered not only over the fortifications of the DMZ but also of the tormented military personal charged with maintaining it.
Each short story in this volume is centered on a mystery to be solved, all involving one or more service personnel. The crime could be murder, theft, black marketing, prostitution, and more. Sgts. Sueño and Bascom often come into conflict with the local law enforcement, mostly, of course, involving incidents caused by American servicemen, who are not known for always being upright citizens while stationed there. The top brass would like for Sueño and Bascom to do all in their power to solve, or in many cases merely cover up, the crimes committed to make sure that the army did not look bad. George and Ernie make an excellent team. George, who understands and speaks Korean, is of strong character with patience, warmth and humor, whereas Ernie has a quick temper and could rush into situations without thought. Both feel, at times, that the "brass" employ questionable methods, making them a bit leery of some of their assignments.
These 18 short stories tend to show a darker side of the American Army in Korea. Many speak of the enlisted men, as well as officers, as being drunks, smoking pot, and racially prejudiced. Many are thieves, and still others are overactive sex addicts. Yet each has a distinctive mystery to be solved, each one is as good as if not better than the one before. This collection is highly recommended for fans of the series, but also provides new readers a comprehensive introduction to the characters.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Nightmare Range.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Nightmare Range for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Joy Brigade
Soho Crime (Hardcover), July 2012
ISBN-13: 9781616951481; ISBN-10: 1616951486
Location(s) referenced in Nightmare Range: South Korea
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Nightmare Range by Martin Limón — A George Sueño and Ernie Bascom Short Story Collection
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: September 2013
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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