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Extended Audio Sample A Corpse in the Koryo, by James Church Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (532 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Church Narrator: Feodor Chin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Inspector O Novels Release Date:
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Sit on a quiet hillside at dawn among the wildflowers; take a picture of a car coming up a deserted highway from the south.

These seen 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 that 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    Newt Gingrich

  • “This is a fine, intelligent, and exciting story that takes us into the netherworld of contemporary North Korean communism. Inspector O is a particularly wonderful creation, a true mensch attempting to hold onto his humanity in a world where humanism is under constant attack. Subtlety is the method, and the result is a fantastic work that should mark the beginning of a brilliant career for James Church.”

    Olen Steinhauer, New YorkTimes bestselling author

  • “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!

  • “Impressive…the author has crafted a complex character with rough charm to spare, and in eternally static North Korea, he has a setting that will fascinate readers for sequels to come.”

    Time magazine, Asia edition

  • “A crackling good mystery novel, filled with unusual characters involved in a complex plot that keeps you guessing to the end.”

    Washington Post 

  • “A new offering that reminds you of why you started reading mysteries and thrillers in the first place.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “An impressive debut that calls to mind such mystery thrillers as Martin Cruz Smith’s Gorky Park…Hammett and Chandler would have had no problem appreciating this hard-boiled narrative.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “An outstanding crime novel…A not-to-be-missed reading experience.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Inspector O is completely believable and sympathetic…The writing is superb, too…richly layered and visually evocative.”           

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Gripping…The pseudonymous Church, himself a former intelligence officer…is an admirable stylist.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Publishers Weekly Top 100 Book of 2006

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Andrew | 2/20/2014

    " In mysterious North Korea, Inspector O has to work almost as hard to find a cup of tea as he does to solve the mystery of the dead body of Finn that turns up in a hotel. Church's insights into the machinations of a paranoid regime are fascinating, but what makes this book a real winner is how he conveys his characters' love for the Korean landscape. Truly enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Susan | 2/19/2014

    " The story takes place in North Korea. To be honest, I had a hard time sticking to the book because the story line is impossible to follow. I never understood who was who and what they were up to. But maybe that is the point? One living in a totalitarian society doesn't have all the information and doesn't know who to trust. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mary | 2/4/2014

    " This is a first person narrative by police Inspector O, which is as much about how things work in North Korea as about the crime itself. I read this as a quick followup to The Orphan Master's Son because of an interest in North Korea. It is fast-paced, but I will have to say that a lot of the elements of who done it and why seem to be too subtle for me to grasp. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Beth | 1/21/2014

    " This book did not appeal to me as much as I thought it would...a bit dry, redundant, and whiny! "

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