A Corpse in the Koryo: An Inspector O Novel

Front Cover
St. Martin's Press, Oct 17, 2006 - Fiction - 288 pages
10 Reviews

Against the backdrop of a totalitarian North Korea, one man unwillingly uncovers the truth behind series of murders, and wagers his life in the process.

Sit on a quiet hillside at dawn among the wildflowers; take a picture of a car coming up a deserted highway from the south. Simple orders for Inspector O, until he realizes they have led him far, far off his department's turf and into a maelstrom of betrayal and death. North Korea's leaders are desperate to hunt down and eliminate anyone who knows too much about a series of decades-old kidnappings and murders---and Inspector O discovers too late he has been sent into the chaos.

This is a world where nothing works as it should, where the crimes of the past haunt the present, and where even the shadows are real. A corpse in Pyongyang's main hotel---the Koryo---pulls Inspector O into a confrontation of bad choices between the devils he knows and those he doesn't want to meet. A blue button on the floor of a hotel closet, an ice blue Finnish lake, and desperate efforts by the North Korean leadership set Inspector O on a journey to the edge of a reality he almost can't survive.

Like Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy and the Inspector Arkady Renko novels, A Corpse in the Koryo introduces another unfamiliar world, a perplexing universe seemingly so alien that the rules are an enigma to the reader and even, sometimes, to Inspector O. Author James Church weaves a story with beautifully spare prose and layered descriptions of a country and a people he knows by heart after decades as an intelligence officer. This is a chilling portrayal that, in the end, leaves us wondering if what at first seemed unknowable may simply be too familiar for comfort.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Olivermagnus - LibraryThing

A Corpse in the Koryo is the first book in the Inspector O series. Inspector O is a North Korean police officer silently railing against the system, yet forced to do just enough to keep himself out of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Pmaurer - LibraryThing

Novel set in North Korea, and follows a convoluted trail to the eventual end. Not sure if this was the author's way to portray North Korea, or just the style of writing. Probably won't read this author again. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
21
Section 3
51
Section 4
65
Section 5
77
Section 6
94
Section 7
135
Section 8
146
Section 10
175
Section 11
178
Section 12
203
Section 13
253
Section 14
261
Section 15
266
Section 16
281
Copyright

Section 9
159

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About the author (2006)

JAMES CHURCH is the pseudonym of a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia. He has wandered through Korea for years. No matter what hat he wore, Church says, he ran across Inspector O many times.

Bibliographic information