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Jung-Myung Lee Books In Order

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Publication Order of J.M. Lee Standalone Novels

The Investigation (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Boy Who Escaped Paradise (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Broken Summer (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jung-Myung Lee aka J.M. Lee

J.M. Lee (aka Jung-Myung Lee) is a highly successful author with millions of copies of his books having been sold in his native Korea. His most popular story, the one that launched his career, Painter of the Wind, was adapted and became an a long running award-winning Korean television series. The Deep-Rooted Tree has also been adapted into a television mini-series.

Broken Summer was also adapted for Korean television due to it also being a huge hit and instant best seller. Other books of his have been nominated for various literary prizes.

Broken Summer, The Boy Who Escaped Paradise, The Gospel of the Murderer, and The Investigation were nominated for various awards and literary prizes. The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, Italian literary prize Premio Bancarella,

Mr. Lee has been celebrated as a writer of historical fiction. With millions of books sold in South Korea, some have been translated into English. Chi Young Kim, a highly respected and talented translator, has translated to English many of Mr. Lee’s books. His translation of The Investigation was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

In Broken Summer, we learn about Lee Hanjo. As an artist, he is at the peak of his fame; he’s widely celebrated and envied by many. Under that acclaim is a secret undercurrent. One, if revealed, will be his undoing. Hidden for twenty-six years, it’s too horrible and he lacks the courage to face it.

On the occasion of Hanjo’s forty-third birthday his life is flipped upside down. His wife, whom he believed to be devoted to him, his disappeared. To his further surprise, she left a soon-to-be-published novel. Written in secret, it has details of a sordid past and someone with morals that are questionable.

The story is about an artist and the plot is too close to the life Hanjo has lived. It’s clear she has written about him and his life is about to implode. Why has she done this now?

The secrets from so many years ago are about to be exposed. A deadly lie permanently sealed the tragic fate of two families. Hanjo is forced to face his youthful past and try to reconcile it with his present.

With each revelation the repercussions leave people reeling. The twists and shocking turns will bring suffering and revenge. Hanjo will have vindications to deal with. This book was adapted to a Korean TV miniseries.

Mr. Lee also gives us The Boy Who Escaped Paradise. The setting is in a North Korean prison and in New York City. It’s another tense, exciting mystery told with the skill Mr. Lee has been celebrated for.

In New York City, a body is discovered. Numbers and symbols have been written in blood around the corpse. Gilmo, a North Korean national, is arrested immediately arrested.

Gilmo is known for his ability to interpret the world using numbers, mathematical theory and mathematical formulas. Angela, a CIA agent, has been assigned to work with him, attempt to gain his trust, and interpret his highly unique thinking process.

Gilmo, with his puzzling personality was living a quiet, private life in Pyongyang, Korea. Gilmo’s father, a highly respected and esteemed doctor, is found out to be a secret Christian. He and Gilmo are incarcerated as political prisoners where they are subjected to the particularly harsh and cruel treatment by the warden.

In prison, Gilmo get acquainted with Yeong-ae. She’s spirited and becomes his only friend. When Yeong-ae is able to escape, Gilmo uses his unique gifts to find her. Together they navigate the seedy, criminal underworld of east Asia.

The underbelly of east Asia is totally alien to the former world Gilmo has always known. This hidden world is filled with greed, violence, and mistrust.

Mr. Lee’s Painter of the Wind has sold over a million copies in South Korea. It too has been adapted as a very successful TV series. In this recent novel we meet Shin Yoon Bok. Yoon Bok is an immensely talented painted who infiltrates a painting academy to improve her art. She creates a disguise to pass as a boy- she also wants to search for her father’s murderer. The man who teaches Yoon Bok is very interested in advancing “his” education, falling in love with “him”, never realizing “he” is a “she”.

The Investigation, another of Mr. Lee’s hugely popular novels, has also been translated into English and was nominated for various awards. The story opens strong with young Yuichi Watanabe, a prison guard in Fukuoka, assigned to solve the brutal murder of one of his fellow guards. Dozan Sugiyama is despised and feared with a well deserved reputation for his brutality.

Watanabe was conscripted into the prison job; a job that doesn’t play to his strengths. He’s a quiet young man, very scholarly, who used to spend his time in the family’s used bookstore. He was more interested in reading such classics as Shakespeare, Goethe, Rilke, and other world literary geniuses. He has little enthusiasm for enforcing prison rules, instead dreaming of the end of the war and being able to return to his former quiet and intellectual life.

In the beginning of his investigation, it appears to be an open and shut case. Choi Chi-su had many clashes with the late warden. Choi was a powerful, vocal leader of the Korean independence movement. When he’s apprehended, Choi confesses on the spot. But Watanabe is not confident. He knows there must be more going on.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jung-Myung Lee

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