The Man with the Baltic Stare: An Inspector O Novel

James Church, Author
James Church, Minotaur, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-37292-7
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
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Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4299-3861-7
Paperback - 279 pages - 978-0-312-56941-9
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Church, the pseudonym of a former U.S. intelligence officer with many years experience in Asia, audaciously sets his fourth North Korean mystery (after 2008's Bamboo and Blood) in 2016, five years after series hero Inspector O was allowed to leave the Ministry of People's Security before retirement age. O received that boon in exchange for a promise to keep mum on secrets about the ruling elite he'd learned from his grandfather. O lives as a virtual recluse for half a decade until a summons to Pyongyang drags him back into the fray. After a series of cryptic encounters, the inspector finally learns that he must go to Macau to solve the murder of a high-priced prostitute, whose corpse was chopped up into pieces. The local authorities suspect the killer to be the young man being groomed to become the new leader of North Korea. Church once again shows an extraordinary ability to bring that enigmatic country to life, a feat made even more impressive by the wholly plausible near-future setting. Satisfied readers will hail Church as the equal of le Carré. (Aug.)
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