A Corpse in the Koryo

  • by James Church
  • Narrated by Feodor Chin
  • 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Sit on a quiet hillside at dawn among the wildflowers; take a picture of a car coming up a deserted highway from the south.
Simple orders for Inspector O, until he realizes they have led him far, far off his department’s turf and into a maelstrom of betrayal and death. North Korea’s leaders are desperate to hunt down and eliminate anyone who knows too much about a series of decades-old kidnappings and murders—and Inspector O discovers too late that he has been sent into the chaos. This is a world where nothing works as it should, where the crimes of the past haunt the present, and where even the shadows are real.
Author James Church weaves a story with beautifully spare prose and layered descriptions of a country and a people he knows by heart after decades as an intelligence officer.


What the Critics Say

“James Church does a better job of describing the isolated, impoverished, corrupt, and out-of-touch life in the North than anything I have seen.” (Newt Gingrich)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Raymond Chandler meets Franz Kafka in N. Korea

An amazing and ambitious first novel. Think of it as Raymond Chandler gets hardboiled and eaten cold by a North Korean bureaucracy where the good guys don't just battle crime, but have to fight through a broken, Kafkaesque maze of political nihilism, factionalism, and stoic fatalism JUST to get some gas or a cup of tea.

Church's natural details are amazing, his writing is both polished and crisp, and his story is superbly well-crafted (I can imagine the idea for Inspector O slowly evolving and being worked and turned and rolled-over in Church's creative pocket like an odd, but beautiful piece of dark persimmon wood). Not since reading my first Olen Steinhauer have I been this excited to discover a new (for me) genre writer.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Serious drama done as zany madcap caper

Would you try another book from James Church and/or Feodor Chin?

I've read all of James Church's books and will continue to do so and I imagine there are many books that Feodor Chin would be very good at narrating, Jeeves stories come to mind. He has a very optimistic and bright voice, which is great until you start doing the voice of a serious to the point of solemn inspector in a prison of a country surrounded by starving people. Church is a great author and Chin seems like a good narrator, but whoever matched these two up needs to find another line of work.
Sorry, I wouldn't be so upset if I didn't like the Inspector O novels so much. This is the worst matched narration since somebody decided they should do Easy Rawlins with an effeminate voice.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Corpse in the Koryo?

Hearing the narrators voice for the first time.

How could the performance have been better?

Remind him that this is not a feel good buddy story.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Corpse in the Koryo?

I never read or listen to abridgements.

Any additional comments?

I think these novels are good enough that they should be done over by someone like Frank Muller.

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- Robert A. Church

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-25-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.