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A Corpse in the Koryo - James Church
A Corpse in the Koryo
by: (author)
2.83 60
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... show more
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)
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Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9780312352080 (0312352085)
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages no: 288
Edition language: English
Series: Inspector O (#1)
Community Reviews
Crime-on-thrill rated it
A Corpse in the Koryo by James Church is the first in the series of crime novel featuring Inspector O, set in the totalitarian country of North Korea. The novels opens with Inspector O, handed with a camera waiting on a hill, waiting for a car to pass, which he is supposed to take a snap of. The ca...
Telynor's Library, and then some
Telynor's Library, and then some rated it
This was one of those novels that plays with your head for a bit. Inspector O, a man of little importance in the Ministry of People's Security finds himself thrown into a case of smuggling, illicit dealing, a Western reporter, and a beautiful girl named Lena. But it's more than a tale of finding out...
Novel Tease
Novel Tease rated it
I read these mystery/thrillers set in foreign lands as much for the insight into another culture as for the mystery, so this novel was a disappointment when I learned almost nothing about North Korea. It's an authoritarian system. Great. I didn't even get much of a sense of "asia-ness" about it. As ...
spocksbro rated it
In the same vein of decent cops working for dictatorial regimes like my recently read Thirty-Three Teeth is James Church's A Corpse in the Koryo. Here, however, the atmosphere is far darker. Where Cotterill plays up the absurdities of the Pathet Lao's regime, Church's North Korean bureaucrats are vi...
sandin954 rated it
This book has garnered rave reviews from just about everyone so I was really looking forward to reading it but really had to struggle to finish it. The setting in North Korea was interesting and the main character was pretty well fleshed out but I did not care for the structure of the story and tho...
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