A Corpse in the Koryo. James Church, Author. St. Martin’s Minotaur/Dunne $ (p) ISBN “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. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of A Corpse in the Koryo by James Church.

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First in a series set in North Korea written by a ooryo Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia,” which shows. Sent north, near to koro Chinese border, O finds himself in w more lawless territory — and in the middle of a big and dangerous mess.

But to his shock, his boss hands him a slightly more complex case: This was one of those books that starts out as a mystery and finishes I can’t wait to get my hands on Hidden Moon.

Inspector O himself has no real emotional reactions to events and is a malcontent at heart who challenges the status quo. Church is a capable writer and has created some good descriptive passages and entertaining verbal exchanges, of which I will include a small sampling: But, without any inkling as to what is happening or why our protagonist is on the run, the book falls flat in the middle section, and it becomes corpsse bit difficult to not stop reading and pick up something else.

Where Cotterill plays up the absurdities of the Pathet Lao’s regime, Church’s North Korean bureaucrats are vicious thugs and the slightest mistake could and does cost lives.

Detailed Review Summary of A Corpse In The Koryo by James Church

Yes, take time to smell the roses, but is there time? The events in the story and the writing can be hard to follow and the characters communicate in an awkward and evasive way. O had a famous grandfather, who raised him, and is unmarried and in his mid-fifties; he works in the capital of Te. James Church tried to write a serious crime novel, and also tried to make it interesting.

As for the actual mystery – nobody actually tthe to care about the “Corpse in the Koryo” hotel, and it’s solution was a throwaway at the very end. Against the backdrop of a totalitarian North Koreaone man unwillingly uncovers the truth behind series of murders, and wagers his life in the process. Nov 27, Annie rated it liked it.


As to what those agendas may be, he can’t even begin to guess; in ultra-secretive North Ij it’s almost impossible to ever know what’s going on anyway.

A Corpse In The Koryo Book Summary and Study Guide

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 was one of those novels that plays with your head for a bit. The plot ticks away as more chara One of my coworkers is married to an editor for St.

The atmosphere of life in North Korea is portrayed as bleak and tense. There’s little kogyo of unexpected beauty, classic Korean poetry, and a real sense of being there. Someone is found dead in a hotel. Though I found lots of potential to like, I think James Church a pseudo name for an actual North Korean spy could have done so much more to introduce this character and develop his mystery.

Given the grim world that they live in, it was refreshing to find that O had a sense of humor. The Ministry is apparently what would be called the police in other countries. Twenty years after the English revolution, the monarchy has been restored, and Charles II sits on the throne. A Corpse in the Koryo is set in contemporary North Korea, the central character an Inspector O who describes corpsd as: Loved the format of this book, the way that the events unfolded backwards making it unique and compelling.

Not since reading my first Olen Steinhauer have I been this koyro to discover a new for me genre writer. O is an original. More in the way of Borges, or Conrad maybe, the sleepwalkingly noirish sensibility is jarringly contrasted with the harsh day-to-day, and the result is engrossing. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it.

Good reading although the plot was revealed in a rush at the end, limiting the reader’s capacity to reach any conclusions about the story along the way.

A Corpse in the Koryo (Audiobook) by James Church |

Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 1. Here the amoral General Zaroff hunts. 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. Nobody is like that. Kang, in particular, keeps crossing his path.


It’s sometimes hard to keep track of, but as the mystery wraps up at the end, you feel like everything made sense. Most characters are constantly pushing for every short-term advantage to ward of their inevitable fate that they are ultimately powerless to stop. The story is a flashback in fact with some very clever flash-forwards to Inspector O’s de-briefing with a British spook. A retired officer has been murdered, and Rutledge goes to investigate.

When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing “a new kind of literary genre”, describing her work as “a history of emotions – a history of the soul”.

A Corpse in the Koryo

Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Want to Read saving…. Not Enabled Word Wise: Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. 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.

Sure, there’s a “corpse in the Koryo” eventually but it doesn’t signify in the end, where it’s revealed that O and his department have been used as bait in a vicious power struggle between Deputy Director Jn of the Investigations Division and Captain Kim of Military Security. Assuming someone has good geographical knowledge of the DPRK was not a good idea.

Needless to say, too, murder investigations of the North Korean-variety are hampered by all sorts of issues — there’s no crack C. O has corpde idea what they want from him, but clearly he’s waded into something; he can also tell that Kim and Kang are apparently not exactly on friendly terms and each has their own agenda. A Corpse in the Koryo – UK. With only a few superficial name changes, the story could easily have been set somewhere like Russia, Vietnam, or China.

Feb 24, Lisa Sansone added it. However, I do think that this writer is enormously talented, in many ways, and I am interested in reading other books in this series.