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June 15, 1997|DENNIS McLELLAN

Martin Limon enlisted in the Army in 1966, but the Gardena native never had to face the specter of Vietnam.

Instead, he was stationed in South Korea, the first of five tours of duty in the East Asian country during which he studied and absorbed Korean life, history and culture.

In his off-duty hours, Limon also began to write short stories.

As a novelist, the retired master sergeant, who now lives in Seattle, continues to go to the well of his Korean experience, first in "Jade Lady Burning," a 1992 thriller about a pair of U.S. Army investigators stationed in Seoul. The New York Times Book Review called the book "remarkable . . . compassionately written, searing in its intensity. Without ever trying to be 'literary,' this novel achieves the stature of literature."

Now Limon's back with a new novel, "Slicky Boys," featuring the same characters: George Sueno, described by one reviewer as a tough guy from East L.A., and Ernie Bascom, "a wild man from Detroit."

Limon will be in Santa Ana on Thursday to do a reading and signing at 7:30 p.m. at Martinez Books and Art Gallery, 200 N. Main St.


Gordon Chappell, director of landscape at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and author of "The Gardens of Williamsburg," will narrate a slide show on the 173-acre historic area and its 90 acres of gardens at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda. Lecture: $9. A buffet luncheon at noon is $35. (714) 993-5075.

Also this week:

* David Jacobs, a professor of history at Temple University and author of "Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions," will lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave., Costa Mesa. Admission: $10. Sponsored by the Mutual UFO Network of Orange County.

* William A. Gordon, author of "The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book," will narrate a slide show and sign at 7 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble in MainPlace, 2800 N. Main St., Santa Ana.

* Richard Chang, author of "Measuring Organizational Improvement Impact," will speak and sign at 7 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble in the Irvine Spectrum, 31 Fortune Drive.

* Mystery writer Karen Kijewski, author of "Kat Scratch Fever," will sign at 1 p.m. Saturday at Book Carnival, 348 S. Tustin Ave., Orange. Kijewski also will sign at 5 p.m. Saturday at Coffee, Tea & Mystery, 13232 Springdale St., Westminster.

* Mystery writer Earlene Fowler, author of "Goose in the Pond," will sign at 2 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble in Metro Pointe, 901 South Coast Drive, Costa Mesa.

* Nancy Ellen Carlberg, author and professional genealogist, will discuss "Writing the Nonfiction Book the Easy Way" at the National Writers Assn. meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Claim Jumper restaurant, 18050 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley. Nonmembers: $25. Includes lunch and workshop. For reservations, call (714) 974-7147.

* Martin Smith, author of "Time Release," will sign at 1 p.m. Saturday at SuperCrown, 14417 Culver Drive, Irvine.

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