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Kind Words From Distinguished Author Bradley Martin

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Bradley Martin, author of Nuclear Blues and Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader and an editor at the Asia Times, had this to say about No Way Out:

Three decades ago, the people of Seoul harbored complex attitudes toward the United States. Any South Koreans who remembered could thank the Americans for having pushed back a takeover invasion by the communist North in the early 1950s. But many others were more inclined to blame the U.S. – and by extension its uniformed representatives – for both real and imagined support of the dictatorial rule that plagued their country until the South Koreans (again

with essential help from Washington, too seldom acknowledged) won a grant of democratic rule in the late ‘80s. Free at last to express themselves, many capital residents were then ready to take out their stored-up bitterness on the soldiers – who, to help protect against further North Korean takeover schemes, continued to be shipped in for one-year tours unaccompanied by families. The G.I.s’ ubiquity, carousing ways and typical lack of cultural sensitivity offended them.

Enter Robert Turner. Turner arrives in Seoul (as many young Americans did and still do) to begin a new career teaching English as a foreign language. No longer a U.S. serviceman, he is going to need every lesson his Air Force stint taught him as he’s caught up in an extreme example of wrong time and wrong place. Specifically, at the conclusion of his second night in the country, he wakes up in bed with a woman who’s been murdered. He didn’t do it but he’s young enough a

nd American enough and certainly circumstantial enough to be fingered immediately and subjected to a nightmare of imprisonment and interrogation by police and prosecutors.

Turner’s biography up until that moment aligns in broad strokes with that of author Jeffrey Miller – who also arrived in Seoul around that time and who, fortunately for the reader, went on to become an assiduous, thoroughly knowledgeable Korea-watcher. Thus, the settings, the local color, the behavioral patterns and even the flavors of the spicy Korean foods are all spot-on realistic. Miller (whose books include Bureau 39, an exciting thriller dealing with North Korea) is a man who knows and loves that fraught peninsula. And as an author he knows how to keep the tension all but impossibly high. Protagonist Turner’s situation worsens at every turn as the gangster element joins the forces of law in making what’s left of his life beyond miserable. Far be it from me to spoil it for you by telling you how this all ends. I’ll simply advise that you get the book and read it – but if your doctor has given you a prescription for hypertension, please don’t skip your meds as you begin this continually heart-stopping journey.

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