Warner Books, 2002
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
On leave in Bermuda, Sean Drummond is ordered to Seoul by the Pentagon. He is assigned to serve as co-counsel on a murder and rape case at the request of his old nemesis from law school, Katherine Carlson. She was a bitter rival back at Georgetown Law, and since then she has earned a powerful reputation defending gay rights cases. Carlson is in Seoul as civilian counsel hired by the Organization for Gay Military Members (OGMM) to defend Captain Thomas Whitehall.
Whitehall is accused of the murder and rape of his gay lover, a Katusa soldier -- "Korean Augmentee to the US Army". To make matters worse, the victim, Lee No Tae, is the only son of South Korea's Defense Minister, Lee Jung Kim. The crime is an embarrassment to the US and South Korea and could become an international incident that threatens to destabilize relations between the two countries.
Anti-American riots throughout the city and threats from high level US diplomats make investigating this case very difficult for Drummond. The case is a powder keg and if the evidence is to be believed, Whitehall is guilty. But when Drummond begins to uncover some interesting conflicts and gets a visit from the CIA, he discovers new leads that take him places someone doesn't want him looking.
MORTAL ALLIES is the second title in Brian Haig's spy and legal thriller series featuring Sean Drummond. The title, MORTAL ALLIES, sums up not only the love/hate relationship between South Korea and the US military presence in their country, but Sean Drummond and Katherine Carlson's relationship as well.
Katherine's nickname for Drummond is "Attila", and he returns the aggravation by calling her "Moonbeam". Drummond describes Carlson as angelic looking, and finds he is attracted to her despite the fact that he thinks she is a lesbian. The humor, the sparring and the chemistry between these two characters is highly entertaining.
Haig uses the criminal case to explore the traditional attitudes towards the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the US military, and along the way explains the delicate political relationship between the US and South Korea. There are explicit and graphic details of autopsies and details about the rape that some readers may find difficult to read. In my opinion, Haig did a great job handling some very sensitive topics. This captivating tale moves with the speed of a bullet, so make sure you have a long weekend to read it or plan an all-nighter.
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