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The Gentleman from Japan

The Gentleman from Japan

An Inspector O Novel

Inspector O Novels (Volume 6)

James Church

Minotaur Books

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James Church, a former Western intelligence officer, returns to the secret world of North Korean intelligence with another “crackling good” (The Washington Post) story in his critically acclaimed Inspector O series.

Under the guise of machinery for making dumplings, a Spanish factory near Barcelona is secretly producing a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. When information finds its way to the inboxes of Western intelligence agencies that this “dumpling maker” is meant for North Korea, orders go out that the shipment must be stopped. Either the machine must be disabled while still in the factory, or the transportation route must be discovered so the equipment can be intercepted before it reaches its destination. An old friend recruits Inspector O to assist in the complex operation designed to disrupt the plans for shipping the machine.

Carefully planted bits of information and bizarre events have led both the Spanish factory and those trying to intercept the machine to conclude that Japanese criminal organizations are involved in buying and transporting the “dumpling” machine in order to hide the involvement of North Korea. A flurry of murders puts the focus on the northeast Chinese city of Yanji, near the border with North Korea, where O’s nephew Major Bing is the Chief of State Security. Bing has his own problems dealing with a corrupt local mayor who is out for his head, coping with a new deputy who cannot be trusted, and figuring out why a Chinese gangster… More…

James Church, a former Western intelligence officer, returns to the secret world of North Korean intelligence with another “crackling good” (The Washington Post) story in his critically acclaimed Inspector O series.

Under the guise of machinery for making dumplings, a Spanish factory near Barcelona is secretly producing a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. When information finds its way to the inboxes of Western intelligence agencies that this “dumpling maker” is meant for North Korea, orders go out that the shipment must be stopped. Either the machine must be disabled while still in the factory, or the transportation route must be discovered so the equipment can be intercepted before it reaches its destination. An old friend recruits Inspector O to assist in the complex operation designed to disrupt the plans for shipping the machine.

Carefully planted bits of information and bizarre events have led both the Spanish factory and those trying to intercept the machine to conclude that Japanese criminal organizations are involved in buying and transporting the “dumpling” machine in order to hide the involvement of North Korea. A flurry of murders puts the focus on the northeast Chinese city of Yanji, near the border with North Korea, where O’s nephew Major Bing is the Chief of State Security. Bing has his own problems dealing with a corrupt local mayor who is out for his head, coping with a new deputy who cannot be trusted, and figuring out why a Chinese gangster he’s worked for years to chase away has suddenly returned.

Church— hailed as “the equal of le Carré” by Publishers Weekly — takes O deep into a maze of cracked mirrors that hide the exits from an elaborate, deadly double blind in his most elaborate mystery yet, The Gentleman from Japan.

Less…

Chapter One



By the time the sun had set on Thursday, there were seven corpses in four of the city’s ragged collection of restaurants, cafés, tea shops, “bakeries,” and illegal lunch stands. Four eateries, seven bodies. It goes...

Praise for The Gentleman from Japan

"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

"If you want to understand North Korea then you need to read Inspector O."—Michael Madden, Founder and Editor of North Korea Leadership Watch

"The sixth outing for Church's wise inspector creates an intriguing synergy, with many insights into international culture and a complex plot" — Kirkus Reviews on The Gentleman from Japan

"The deeper you get into The Gentleman From Japan, the more educated you become about the dark complexities of international relations, and the more indebted you are to Church for creating a series that stands out as winningly as this one."—The Chicago Tribune

"Like Marlowe and Spade before him, Inspector O navigates the shadows and, every now and then, finds truth in the half-light." —The Wall Street Journal on A Drop of Chinese Blood

"Stellar... An intricate plot that ranks as one of Church's best... A satirical look at paranoid intelligence structures and the snappy, irreverent narration add to the fun." -Publishers Weekly, starred review on A Drop of Chinese Blood

"Church uses his years of intelligence work to excellent advantage… delivering one duplicitous plot twist after another." -The Washington Post on A Corpse in the Koryo

"Satisfied readers will hail Church as… More…


"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

"If you want to understand North Korea then you need to read Inspector O."—Michael Madden, Founder and Editor of North Korea Leadership Watch

"The sixth outing for Church's wise inspector creates an intriguing synergy, with many insights into international culture and a complex plot" — Kirkus Reviews on The Gentleman from Japan

"The deeper you get into The Gentleman From Japan, the more educated you become about the dark complexities of international relations, and the more indebted you are to Church for creating a series that stands out as winningly as this one."—The Chicago Tribune

"Like Marlowe and Spade before him, Inspector O navigates the shadows and, every now and then, finds truth in the half-light." —The Wall Street Journal on A Drop of Chinese Blood

"Stellar... An intricate plot that ranks as one of Church's best... A satirical look at paranoid intelligence structures and the snappy, irreverent narration add to the fun." -Publishers Weekly, starred review on A Drop of Chinese Blood

"Church uses his years of intelligence work to excellent advantage… delivering one duplicitous plot twist after another." -The Washington Post on A Corpse in the Koryo

"Satisfied readers will hail Church as the equal of le Carré." -Publishers Weekly, starred review on A Drop of Chinese Blood

“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

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

“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

“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

Less…

Reviews from Goodreads

James Church

JAMES CHURCH (pseudonym) is a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia. He is the author of the Inspector O series, including A Corpse in the Koryo, A Drop of Chinese Blood and Hidden Moon. He has wandered through Korea for years. No matter what hat he wore, Church says, he ran across Inspector O many times.

image of James Churcho
Photo: Peter Kolk

James Church

Criminalelement.com

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