Download Hidden Moon: An Inspector O Novel Audiobook

Hidden Moon: An Inspector O Novel Audiobook, by James Church Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: James Church Narrator: Feodor Chin Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Inspector O Novels Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9781481588645
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (245 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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In A Corpse in the Koryo, James Church introduced readers to one of the most unique detectives to appear in print in years—the elusive Inspector O. The stunning mystery was named one of the best mystery/thrillers of 2006 by the Chicago Tribune for its beautifully spare prose and layered descriptions of a terrain Church knows by heart.

And now the Inspector is back.

In Hidden Moon, Inspector O returns from a mission abroad to find his new police commander waiting at his office door. There has been a bank robbery—the first ever in Pyongyang—and the commander demands action, and quickly. But is this urgency for real? Somewhere, someone in the North Korean leadership doesn’t want Inspector O to complete his investigation. And why not? What if the robbery leads to the highest levels of the regime? What if power, not a need for cash, is the real reason behind the heist at the Gold Star Bank?

Given a choice, this isn’t a trail a detective in the Pyongyang police would want to follow all the way to the end, even a trail marked with monogrammed silk stockings. “I’m not sure I know where the bank is,” is O’s laconic observation as the warning bells go off in his head. A Scottish policeman sent to provide security for a visiting British official, a sultry Kazakh bank manager, and a mournful fellow detective all combine to put O in the middle of a spider web of conspiracies that becomes more tangled—and dangerous—the more he pulls on the threads.

Once again, as he did in A Corpse in the Koryo, James Church opens a window onto a society where nothing is quite as it seems. The story serves as the listener’s flashlight, illuminating a place that outsiders imagine is always dark and too far away to know. Church’s descriptions of the country and its people are spare and starkly beautiful; the dialogue is lean, every thought weighed and measured before it is spoken. Not a word is wasted because in this place no one can afford to be misunderstood.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The book’s often sharp repartee is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler’s dialogue, while the corrupt North Korean bureaucracy provides an exotic but entirely convincing noir backdrop…Like Marlowe and Spade before him, Inspector O navigates the shadows and, every now and then, finds truth in the half-light.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Like nothing else I’ve ever read…Church creates an utterly convincing, internally consistent world of the absurd where orders mean the opposite of what they say and paperwork routinely gets routed to oblivion.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Church uses his years of intelligence work to excellent advantage here, delivering one duplicitous plot twist after another…The author’s affection for the landscape and people of Korea is abundantly evident…[A] stunning conclusion.”

    Washington Post

  •  “Hidden Moon reads more like a spy novel by a Korean Kafka. Final word: Fascinating.”

    Rocky Mountain News

  • “The real pleasure of Hidden Moon is its conversations, loaded down with layers of secrecy and suspicion that surface words are meaningless in the face of buried intention.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Church’s spartan prose is a perfect match for the sparseness of the North Korean landscape.”

    Charleston Gazette

  • “With wit and efficiency, Church masterfully evokes the challenges of enforcing the law in an authoritarian society and weds the intriguing atmosphere to a fast-moving and engaging plot.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “The foibles of North Korean bureaucracy are the focus of the Inspector O mysteries, which deliver a tangled web of political and criminal intrigue that fails to disturb the unflappable detective. Feodor Chin accentuates O’s laconic observations. He remains deadpan, in true noir style, in the most dangerous situations and snarled conspiracies. Chin’s hard-boiled drawl contrasts with the voice of O’s commander, Mein, who manipulates and intimidates the inspector with measured pacing and gruff authority.”


  • “Nothing short of brilliant.”

    Library Journal

  • “O’s second outing is for readers who enjoy the journey more than the destination—especially those who appreciate Church’s stylish prose and incisive portrait of modern North Korea.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Reviews

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  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Holly | 2/2/2014

    " I really tried to read this book, took several stabs at it. But it was as compelling as drying paint and I gave up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh | 1/27/2014

    " I didn't think the story was as good as the last one but the main character still carries the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seana | 1/25/2014

    " Well, I didn't think this was quite up there with the first as far as storyline goes, but of course I'm going to have to read all of the series, thanks to the excellent Inspector O. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 1/19/2014

    " Outing #2 for Inspector O of North Korea was a bit more noir-ish and a bit more Kafka-esque than the first installment. Church continues to bring a lively sense of humor through his characters and the absurdities of North Korea's paranoia-driven state. My only complaint is that my experience as the reader going through O's circle chases became a little redundant at times. Instead of identifying with the inspector's frustration, I was given over to boredom for a few pages. Still, topnotch mystery writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 1/17/2014

    " Inspector O is fast becoming one of the most compelling characters in modern crime fiction. A detective in the Ministry of People's Security in North Korea, O works in a country and system that few of us can scarcely imagine. In this novel, O is called to investigate a bank robbery, the first to ever occur in Pyongyang. As he investigates, he learn that this event is only the tip of the iceberg in a plot that has national and international ramifications. The pseudonymous James Church, a former intelligence officer stationed in Asia, has written a mystery that unfolds slowly like a flower. This thoughtful narrative requires patience from the reader, but that patience is rewarded with a truly first rate story and fully developed characters. Anyone who has enjoyed John Burdett's wonderful series of mystery novels set in Bangkok will feel a kinship. This is a true thinking-person's mystery novel and it is recommended without reservation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 1/8/2014

    " A mystery set in North Korea - complicated and intriguing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 International | 12/20/2013

    " Really good - and the ending was wound up much better than the ending of Corpse in the Koryo (which nonetheless was a good book). According to wikipedia (therefore it must be correct! haha) 'James Church' is a pseudonym for "a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia" - so maybe he does have some solid insight into what life is like north of the 38th (As few Westerners have been to North Korea - and as the ones who have are typically under tight guard the whole time they're there - I wondered during both books how accurate a depiction it was.) Definitely looking forward to reading the next two in the series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Errol | 12/11/2013

    " Second book in the Inspector 0 series of North Korean detective novels. Not as strong as Corpse in the Koryo (the end is not tied up very well), but still a fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 12/8/2013

    " Even better than its predecessor, reading this gave me a sense of immersion that was right up there with good William Gibson. I feel like a North Korean detective right now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/19/2013

    " I didn't think this was as good as the first, but I still devoured it and started the third immediately after (and then checked out the fourth). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roshni | 11/10/2013

    " This book succeeded in conveying the randomness of North Korean society. O doesn`t know what`s going on, and by the end neither do we. Church weaves a tangled web, but never untangles it. The novel leaves you hanging and unsatisfied. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 10/7/2013

    " intoxicatingly stark, a world unseen by most...I can't wait to ingest more on Inspector O! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Braxtol | 9/20/2013

    " Hmmmm, meh, Inspector O should have been a little more suave. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg | 1/15/2013

    " Very fun read, and provides interesting view of North Korea--Inspector O is a great character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 B. | 12/31/2012

    " I enjoyed the first Inspector O novel because it appeared to offer some insight into the strange and hidden world of North Korea. This novel offers much less. Unlike A Corpse in the Koryo, Hidden Moon is a tangled tale of bureaucratic intrigue that could have happened anywhere. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 9/6/2011

    " I actually enjoyed this book much more than "The corpse in the Koryo", the first one in the series. It was an entertaining read and I look forward to reading the next instalment in the series. "

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.

About the Narrator

Feodor Chin, an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator, is an actor classically trained at the American Conservatory Theater and UCLA. His acting career includes numerous credits in film, television, theater, and voice-over.