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Un-Su Kim Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Plotters (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author Un-Su Kim was born in the year 1972 in South Korea, in a port city called Busan, where he would grow up. Busan is a port city that is close to five hours to the south of Seoul, South Korea. He is the author of some highly praised novels. As a child, he would explore the streets of Busan, walking them with his first girlfriend, whom he met when he was only seventeen years old. He wandered around them aimlessly after he failed the entrance exam to get into college.

Kim professes that he got sick of his hometown after he spent so many years living there. He would later appreciate this town more when he revisited the memories he has of Busan and his home by the sea for his novel “Hot Blood”.

He attended Kyung Hee University, studying Korean literature, where he completed his master’s level coursework.

Kim’s American debut novel “The Plotters” was released in the year 2018, and was set to be made into a movie directed by Hur Jin-ho. It was translated by a Korean-American named Sora Kim-Russell. The novel was originally released in Kim’s native Korea in the year 2010. His work is from the mystery genre, and features satire and organized crime. He has written both novels and some short stories.

He won a Grand Prix de Literature Policiere (which is a French prize for the best international crime novel) and the Mumhakdogne Prize for “The Cabinet”. For his novel “Hot Blood” he won a Hahn Moo-Sook Literary Prize in the year 2017. “The Plotters” was picked by Chicago Review of Books to be one of the Winter’s Best Thrillers and was one of Lit Hub’s most anticipated books in the year 2019. CrimeReads also selected it as one of its most anticipated crime reads of 2019, and it was an Editor’s Choice of New York Times Book Review.

Many of Kim’s characters are lonely. This is due to Kim feeling that this is human nature’s essence and comes from the misunderstanding people have that they are the only ones in the world that are being hurt. Art communicates before shaking hands in order to assuage this loneliness, he feels.

Based on this belief, Kim creates rather surreal stories that involve exaggerated and dramatic characters. His novel, “The Cabinet” is about people that distrust the ever-changing world and so they deny their past as well as deleting all of their memories to allow them to create new ones.

Kim’s novel “Hot Blood” contains quite a few autobiographical elements in it, and it follows the lives of prostitutes, thugs, and loan sharks as well as other shady characters that live near the Busan seaside.

“The Plotters” is a stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2018. the novel is fantastical crime that is set in an alternate Seoul where there are assassination guilds that are competing for dominance of the market. Behind each assassination is an anonymous mastermind, or more specifically a plotter, working deep in the shadows. Plotters that dictate quietly each of the moves the city’s most dangerous criminals make, but their very existence is not much more than legend. Who are these so called plotters? Most important of all: what do they really want?

Reseng is a hired killer. He has never had any other option for himself, being an orphan. He was raised by a cantankerous killer that is named Old Raccoon, after he adopted the child, in The Library, the crime headquarters and he never questioned a thing. Who to kill, where to go, or why his home was filled with books that never got read.

In The Library, there are over two hundred thousand books that are housed within it. It is here that the plots are put together before being handed out to the killers who carry all of it out, thus the name it has been given: “Library of Dogs”.

Once Korea was democratized, the Library became pushed into the margins of the plotting world by new leadership, largely Hanja. He was able to make the organization over into a corporate security company and the guy is a foreign-educated businessman.

One day, Reseng steps out of line, altering the plot to kill an ex-general, dissociating himself from the Library and becoming a free agent, while on a job that topples a series of carefully calculated plans. His altering the plot to kill someone made things tense between an old Library member called Hanja. It is to this man that Reseng lost two people to in the past. One is the Trainer, who Reseng looked up and was a father figure to. The other is Chu, who is a hired killer that made the blacklist for allowing his target to go free.

When he finds an extraordinary scheme that is set into motion by a trio of eccentric young ladies: a cross eyed librarian, a clerk at a convenience store, and her wheelchair-bound sister. Reseng is going to have to figure out if he is going to stay a pawn or if he is finally going to take control of the plot.

This is after he meets Mito, the female protagonist and prodigy who’s dad was killed because of a plot. After a lot of preparation, she becomes an assistant to a plotter. All hell breaks out after she approaches Reseng with her own scheme to turn the plotting world over.

This book is filled with some characters readers will not soon forget and crackles with action. This is a deeply entertaining thriller that soars right along with the lyricism, soul, and wit of real literary craft. The book is quirky, intelligent, compelling, highly original, and darkly funny, as well as being a thought provoking thriller unlike anything some have read. The book features a world that is slightly disturbing and exciting; it is one that is seemingly futuristic but still seems to be stuck in the past. For some, this novel serves as an excellent introduction into Korean fiction as it gives an interesting view of everyday life in Korea as well as its political plot. The book is well written and will hold your interest until the very end.

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