Bamboo and Blood
The critically acclaimed A Corpse in the Koryo brought readers into the enigmatic workings of North Korean intelligence with the introduction of a new kind of detective---the mysterious Inspector O. In the follow-up, Hidden Moon, O threaded his way through the minefield of North Korean ministries into a larger conspiracy he was never supposed to touch.
Now the inspe
Where Hemingway was fixated on food, wine and women, Church fixates on lack of food, the cold and wood. It all works, if you can ignore the sloppy pacing that creeps into the end of the novel. The novel's first 3/4 seems fine, not exceptional, but interesting ...more
He is helped/hindered/followed by an assortment of oddities - Sohn, a senior official from another security agency, Jeno, the Mossad agent from Switzerland, M. Beret, the head of Swiss counterintelligence ...more
This is the third novel in the Inspector O series. New readers are advised to start with ‘A Corpse in the Koryo’ rather than trying to get to grips with O’s character and his particularly peculiar situation all at once. The earlier books have been rather more traditional whodunnits, set in communist North Korea with O as an eccentric detecti ...more
But at the same time, I have to agree with many of the other reviews of both this book and Koryo. Most of the characters in both books speak with the same clever/ironic/cynical voice, so tha ...more
His mysterious assignment to discover who killed the unknown woman lead ...more
It's an odd novel – a little bit Noir (the scenes in Geneva read with The Third Man theme playing in my head) and I never ...more
The author is retired from the US Intelligence community where North Korea must have been his focus. He writes with a comfortable confidence which adds to the pleas ...more
Please don't judge this book by the title. This is not some dime-a-dozen murder mystery. James Church creates a film noir inspired world set in North Korea. It is a detective's tail guided by North Korean bureaucracy, corruption, ideology, and undertones of for ...more
The book takes place during a famine, probably the one in the late 90s, although it doesn't seem like the earlier books took place during that same era. Inspector O is assigned to gather as much info as he can about a North Korean woman who died, possibly in Pakistan. He's sent off to China, and then to New York, al ...more
The prose was more florid, the plot more convoluted, the conversations more frustratingly oblique, and the herrings 1000% redder.
There were some worthwhile parts, some poetic passages, a few new glimpses into North Korea during the famine, but overall, nowhere near as good as "A corpse in the Koryo".