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Inspector O Books In Order

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Publication Order of Inspector O Books

A Corpse in the Koryo (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hidden Moon (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bamboo and Blood (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Man with the Baltic Stare (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Drop of Chinese Blood (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gentleman from Japan (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Commonly referred to as, the man who knows so much about South Korea, James church is the nom-de-plume author of approximately five detective based novels. As a former CIA and western intelligence officer, James church has worked in East Asia for many decades and from time to time he has had the privilege to visit North Korea on 30 occasions. James Church grew up in the San Francisco valley, US and by the year 2009 he was more than sixty years of age. He made his debut, with the A Corpse in Koryo, the first installment of the inspector O series which was published in the year 2006.

The inspector O series have been received well by many readers throughout the globe. In addition, the inspector O novel has also attracted the attention of many Asian specialists who claim that the novel offers a rather unusual and detailed portrait of the North Korean society. The official Korean Society panel had nothing but praise for the book due to its realism and its aptitude to convey the rather intoxicating atmosphere within the totalitarian state. Apart from the panel, the viewers at the Washington Post and the Independent magazines compared the protagonist in the Inspector O series to the Soviet chief inspector, Arkady Renko in the novel Gory Park for offering a vivid window into a very mysterious country.

A Corpse in Koryo

A Corpse in Koryo happens to be James’s Church debut novel and from the reactions and reviews it drew across the platform, it is safe to say that James Church is truly gifted mastermind. As the first installment of the inspector O series, A Corpse in Koryo is the story about the protagonist, Inspector O. Inspector O is a story about a North Korean inspector who becomes intertwined in the feud that is between the various North Korean intelligence units. So as to survive, Inspector O has to avoid being caught amidst the crossfire by weaving and bobbing his way out. Apart from giving a great sense of the daily emptiness of life in an autocratic state, the author, James Church is also able to develop a rather complex but still captivating.

The book begins as inspector O is being interviewed by a Mi5 agent in a safe house that is located in Prague. As the interview progresses, inspector O narrates to the reader a story of how after a routine operation, he gets pushed around by his boss and a mysterious intelligence officer named Kang. His boss sends him in a town close to the border so that he can be able to gather evidence about the mysterious goings. After staying at the border for some time, Inspector O is called back to the capital even before he is able to conclude his investigation. Upon reaching the capital, he is informed about the body of a foreigner that was found in the main hotel of the city.

But unknown to the inspector, the regime is trying to get rid of him by setting him up. The death of the foreigner is somehow related to the demise of his parents and there is also a connection between the death of the foreigner and his grandfather. A Corpse in Koryo is more of a flash back but none the less there are also some very crafty flash-forwards. Is Inspector O going to win this war or are the powerful figures going to continue getting away with such cases?

Mystery Moon

Mystery Moon continues where the first installment of the inspector O series had left off. Unlike its predecessor, Hidden Moon is more complex since the plot is filled with lots of twins and turns. Mystery moon kicks off after a shocking robbery has been orchestrated at the Gold Star Bank which happens to be the first of its kind in Pyongyang. This specific robbery presents a challenge to both inspector O and the ministry especially due to the fact that they are informed about the robber a week after it had happened. With no data in the duty log and no training manuals indicating that robberies are under the jurisdiction of the ministry, Inspector O and the ministry are clueless about what to do in such scenarios.

After being assigned the Case, Inspector O discovers that there is an individual somewhere who is controlling and monitoring his access to information. It does not take long for inspector O to discover that he together with the entire ministry are being set up for a fall. One of the robbers who was involved in the case was knocked by an oncoming bus while trying to remove a silk stocking from his head. When inspector O contacts the morgue, they deny having the body of the alleged robber though Inspector O was already in possession of the silk that the robber was trying to remove. Like a true detective that he is, inspector O does not give up yet, that easily.

While still working on the case, Inspector O discovers that one of the security guards who were on duty, the day that the robbery went down left a few minutes before the robbers came to the bank. Apart from the security guard who left, Inspector O also discovers other strange details that may somehow be connected to the case. A murder takes place at a local pub called Club Blue. The murder that takes place at this bar is somehow connected to the people who are involved with the bank robbery. On one hand the bank manager refuses to corporate while on the other nothing in the bank was insured. With the case getting complicated and more complicated, is inspector O going to find the perpetrators of this crime or is he going to hit a brick wall? Once again, only time will tell.


Despite being irrelevant and iconoclastic in the first installments, Inspector O graduates into a more noticeable and relevant figure in the books that followed. With his tongue inside his cheeks, Inspector O channels his sarcasm to the people who are in charge. Some of the conversations in this book are somewhat bizarre that they end up resembling the Three Stooges. As all the ironies in his life turn into illogicalities and even threaten his investigations, they still play a major role in Inspector O’s life, as he continues to change and evolve into a more engaging and relevant character in the books that followed.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Inspector O

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