Kim Oh #5: Real Dangerous Fun by K. W. Jeter (Editions Herodiade, 2014)
K. W. Jeter’s femme fatale is back again for another round in Kim Oh #5: Real Dangerous Fun. In a just world, we’d all be running to the paperback rack every other month to read about the adventures of Kim Oh, the petite Korean-American gun for hire. But in Universe A, we’re forced to wait years for another Kim Oh book.
At the start of Dangerous Fun, Kim is still recuperating from her last adventure, spelled out in Real Dangerous Place. One of her gunslinger buddies, Elton, is still recovering in the hospital. Kim is running dangerously low on funds when she gets a call for a job.
By now, you’d think any prospective employer would have second thoughts about hiring Kim. Her previous employers have all met with gruesome ends. The last one was very dramatic, involving a helicopter and a building. All of her former employers have been arrogant rich bastards, so it was a little hard to feel much sympathy for any of them. Still, if I needed to hire Kim, I’d do it through someone else. No reason to tempt the fates.
Kim is hired as a bodyguard for a rich girl. The girl in question is going on a spring break vacation to the exclusive South American country of Meridién. The girl’s father is concerned his little investment might run into some unsavory characters, so he hires Kim as the protection. But, as always in a Kim Oh novel, the job isn’t all that it appears to be.
To complicate matters, Kim is forced to take her handicapped brother Danny along for the trip.Danny isn’t too much of a problem,so long as he has his laptop computer on hand to play NASCAR. But Danny hooks up with a college girl named Mavis on the way down. Mavis, it turns out, isn’t heading south to party,but to study the mating rituals of the upper classes.
Soon after checking into the hotel, Kim goes to check on Lynndie, the girl’s she’s been hired to protect. Once inside the suite of rooms,Kim is dealt a pistol whip from a thug, sending her to never-never land. When she wakes,Lynndie is gone and the suite is filled with signs of a struggle.Now Kim has to find out who kidnapped her client’s daughter and why. To describe more of the plot would spoil it for the reader.
The novel is short, my kindle edition runs 158 pages. But it’s detailed and nothing important is left out. As in the last 4 Kim Oh novels, it’s told from Kim’s point-of-view. So the reader is treated to Kim’s wise-cracking comments on the world around her. Such as this observation on why blondes want you to think they’re dumb:
“Trust me on this one. I learned this through experience, not out of some book. They’re not as dumb as they want you to think they are. Some of them, in fact, are downright evil. They’re smiling away and acting all air-headed and stuff, and meanwhile, if you listen really carefully, you can hear the little gears inside their skulls, turning and meshing while they’re putting together some scheme. Come on, it stands to reason – naturally they’re going to want you to think they’re poodles, not human Rottweilers. It’s camouflage. And while they’re working on becoming the next Master of the Universe, everybody else is falling for that cliché Dragon Lady line about Asian girls, that we’re all inscrutable and stuff, when really most of us are just trying to qualify for a business loan to buy a convenience store in Compton. But it’s all karma in the end – it’s the people who fall for all these stereotypes who wind up getting hosed, losing half their net worth in the divorce settlement. Don’t let it happen to you.”
The book isn’t without its faults. There’s a situation where Kim leaves her guns unchecked in a bad situation. This moves the plot along and figures into the resolution of it, but you’d think a real professional would be more careful.
I’m still eagerly waiting for the next novel in the series.