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A Corpse in the Koryo

by

A Corpse in the Koryo Cover

ISBN13: 9780312352080
ISBN10: 0312352085
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

 
Critical Acclaim for The Corpse in the Koryo

 

“This is a fine, intelligent, and exciting story that takes us into the netherworld of contemporary North Korean communism. It evokes the gray milieu without ever overstepping its mark, allowing us to see it from the inside rather than the outside, wherein the humanity of all the characters, both good and evil, is apparent. Inspector O is a particularly wonderful creation, a true mensch attempting to hold on to his humanity in a world where humanism is under constant attack. Subtlety is the method, and the result is fantastic work that should mark the beginning of a brilliant career for James Church.”

---Olen Steinhauer, author of Liberation Movements

 

“For over fifty years Americans have tried to understand the world of North Korea. James Church does a better job of describing the isolated, impoverished, corrupt, and out- of-touch life in the North than anything I have seen. This novel is a must-read for anyone who would understand how precarious the dictatorship is.”

---Newt Gingrich, author of Winning Back the Future and Never Call Retreat

 

“A gripping story of mystery and intrigue. The laconic Inspector O follows in the traditions of Inspector Arkady Renko, operating in a world of complexity and danger we’re meeting here for the first time.”

---Don Oberdorfer, author of Tet!

“Church’s debut thriller breaks new ground. O is an original. This is an expert take on a complex, brutal, and mystifying society. Immerse yourself in it.”

---Marshall Browne, author of Eye of the Abyss and the Inspector Anders series

 

The Corpse in the Koryo is a spellbinder. Bloody and chilling, yet subtle in its psychological detail, with an amazing understanding of North Korea.”

---Ezra F. Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University Asia Center

 

“The (pseudonymous) author, a veteran intelligence officer, has intimate knowledge of Asian life and politics, and it shows: He gives the North Korea setting a feeling of palpable reality, depicting the nature of daily life under a totalitarian government not just with broad sociopolitical descriptions but also with specific everyday details. . . . There is also a little of Martin Cruz Smith’s early Arkady Renko novels here. The writing is superb, too, well above the level usually associated with a first novel, richly layered and visually evocative.”

---Booklist (starred review)

Synopsis:

"On the surface, A Corpse in the Koryo is a crackling good mystery novel, filled with unusual characters involved in a complex plot that keeps you guessing to the end."

---Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post 

  

One of Publishers Weekly Top 100 Books of 2006

One of Booklist's Best Genre Fiction of 2006

One of the Chicago Tribune's best mystery/thrillers of 2006

 

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 decade's-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.

         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.

 
". . . an outstanding crime novel. . . . a not-to-be-missed reading experience. "

---Library Journal (starred)

 

"Inspector O is completely believable and sympathetic . . . The writing is superb, too . . . richly layered and visually evocative."

---Booklist (starred)

 

". . . an impressive debut that calls to mind such mystery thrillers as Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. . . ."

---Publishers Weekly (starred)

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Bookwomyn, February 8, 2007 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
A facinating peek into the world of North Korea! This book takes its reader on a journey to mysterious places, tosses in dangerous people, tasks its central character, Inspector O, with an impossible assignment and we get to come along for the ride. It left me breathless and wanting more from Church. He's lived in Korea so we're left wondering how much of this is fiction.
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Dexter, January 2, 2007 (view all comments by Dexter)
This is a wonderful debut novel. A detective/spy thriller that poetically and partially illuminates a dark corner of the of the world, North Korea. It is a combination of Ross Macdonald and Alan Furst. "Kimche Noir" wonderfully written. I look forward to future encounters with James Church's Inspector O.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312352080
Publisher:
Minotaur Books
Subject:
Officials and employees
Author:
Church, James
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Korea (north)
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Hard-Boiled
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Mystery & Detective/International Mystery & Crime
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series:
Inspector O Novels
Series Volume:
No. 1
Publication Date:
20070904
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.49 x 0.77 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

A Corpse in the Koryo
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Thomas Dunne Books - English 9780312352080 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"On the surface, A Corpse in the Koryo is a crackling good mystery novel, filled with unusual characters involved in a complex plot that keeps you guessing to the end."

---Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post 

  

One of Publishers Weekly Top 100 Books of 2006

One of Booklist's Best Genre Fiction of 2006

One of the Chicago Tribune's best mystery/thrillers of 2006

 

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 decade's-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.

         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.

 
". . . an outstanding crime novel. . . . a not-to-be-missed reading experience. "

---Library Journal (starred)

 

"Inspector O is completely believable and sympathetic . . . The writing is superb, too . . . richly layered and visually evocative."

---Booklist (starred)

 

". . . an impressive debut that calls to mind such mystery thrillers as Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park. . . ."

---Publishers Weekly (starred)

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