Author: J.E. ""Buck"" Ballow
Publisher: Infinity Publishing (2007)
Binding: Paperback, 187 pages
It's not so much a mystery as it is an adventure. The CID Operations Officer drops a bomb shell of a case on Agents E.Z. Behr and Charlie Bees. After numerous robberies in the back streets of Koza, Okinawa, the latest victim has been murdered. There are no witnesses, no physical evidence, no crime scene; they don't even know the victim's name. Walk the streets with them as they resolve the puzzle their way. You develop a case of human hoof and mouth disease; you walk and talk until it all comes together.
The author retired from the US Army after twenty-eight years of service, the last fifteen with the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID). While in the military he spent twelve years in Japan, Korea and Okinawa. After retirement from the military he served eighteen years as a civilian supervisor of the Illinois State Police coordinatiing intelligence matters with local, state, national, and international agencies.
Men are being robbed on the back streets of Koza, Okinawa. Grabbed from behind, the victims feel a knife at their throats or a prick of a sharp object in their backs. The robber forces the victims to drop their pants and then knocks them to the ground, preventing pursuit. Then the crimes escalate to murder. Since Koza is located outside Gate 2 of an U. S. military installation, and most of the victims are military, the case belongs to the Criminal Investigative Division (CID).
When the first murder occurs E. Z. "Easy" Behr, a seasoned CID investigator on his second tour on the Rock (Okinawa), is handed the case. Easy and his partner, Charlie Bees, joined by a trainee, Ski Bronowski, take the reader on a wild ride through Koza as they pursue the criminals, who left few clues at the scene of the crimes. Bar girls, houses of ill repute, shopkeepers, and old loves. Okinawan police and detectives add local color. The author captures the pulse of Koza and offers insight into how a CID investigation is carried out.
Told in the first person, the characters are reminiscent of detective characters from the past, and fit well into the genra created by such well-know authors as Mickey Spillane and Philip Marlowe. The story has an authentic feel, is well plotted with twists and turns to keep the reader's interest. A good read and an excellent companion for a long flight or a cold winter day by the fireplace.
Reviewed by: Lee Boyland (2010)