Book details

Bamboo and Blood

An Inspector O Novel

Inspector O Novels (Volume 3)

Author: James Church

Bamboo and Blood

Bamboo and Blood


About This Book

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...

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Book Details

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 inspector returns . . .

In the winter of 1997, trying to stay alive during a famine that has devastated much of North Korea, Inspector O is ordered to play host to an Israeli agent who appears in Pyongyang. When the wife of a North Korean diplomat in Pakistan dies under suspicious circumstances, O is told to investigate, with a curious proviso: Don't look too closely at the details, and stay away from the question of missiles. O knows he can't avoid finding out what he is supposed to ignore on a trail that leads him from the dark, chilly rooms of Pyongyang to an abandoned secret facility deep in the countryside, guarded by a lonely general; and from the streets of New York to a bench beneath a horse chestnut tree on the shores of Lake Geneva, where the Inspector discovers he is up to his ears in missiles---and worse. Stalked by the past and wary of the future, O is convinced there is no one he can trust, and no one he can't suspect. Swiss intelligence wants him out of the country; someone else wants him dead.

Once again, James Church's spare, lyrical prose guides readers through an unfamiliar landscape of whispered words and shadows, a world wrapped in a level of mystery and complexity that few outsiders have experienced. With Inspector O, noir has a new home in North Korea, and James Church holds the keys.

Imprint Publisher

Minotaur Books



In The News

"Inspector O is a complex, nuanced figure who understands that the regime he serves is corrupt, brutal and mendacious, but he remains loyal.... I think many North Korean officials today are an echo of the conflicted nationalist Inspector O." —The New York Times

“Church once again does a brilliant job of portraying the dysfunctional, paranoid society of modern North Korea in his third novel to feature Inspector O....While the espionage elements compel, the book's main strength, as with its predecessors, derives from the small details that enable the reader to imagine life in North Korea--and from O's struggles to maintain his principles and integrity.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on the Inspector O Series

“[Hidden Moon] . . . is 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.” —Halle Ephron, The Boston Globe on Hidden Moon

“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.” —Marina Malenic, The Wall Street Journal on Hidden Moon

“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.” —The Washington Post on Hidden Moon

Hidden Moon reads more like a spy novel by a Korean Kafka. Final word: fascinating.” —Rocky Mountain News on Hidden Moon

“Church's spartan prose is a perfect match for the sparseness of the North Korean landscape.” —Charleston Gazette on Hidden Moon

“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.” —The Baltimore Sun on Hidden Moon

“A crackling good mystery novel, filled with unusual characters involved in a complex plot that keeps you guessing to the end.” —The Washington Post on A Corpse in the Koryo

“An impressive debut that calls to mind such mystery thrillers as Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on A Corpse in the Koryo

“A new offering that reminds you of why you started reading mysteries and thrillers in the first place.” —The Chicago Tribune on A Corpse in the Koryo

“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.” —Tim Morrison, Time magazine, Asia edition on A Corpse in the Koryo

About the Creators

Bamboo and Blood

Bamboo and Blood