A Drop of Chinese Blood
By James Church
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312550639, 304pp.)
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
List Price: $34.99*
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James Church's Inspector O novels have been hailed as "crackling good" ("The Washington Post") and "tremendously clever" ("Tampa Tribune"), while Church himself has been embraced by critics as "the equal of le Carre" ("Publishers Weekly," starred). Now Church--a former Western intelligence officer who pulls back the curtain on the hidden world of North Korea in a way that no one else can--comes roaring back with a new novel introducing Inspector O's nephew, Major Bing, the long-suffering chief of the Chinese Ministry of State Security operations on the border with North Korea.
The last place Bing expected to find the stunningly beautiful Madame Fang--a woman Headquarters wants closely watched--was on his front doorstep. Then, as suddenly as she shows up, Madame Fang mysteriously disappears across the river into North Korea, leaving in her wake both consternation and a highly sensitive assignment for Bing to bring back from the North a long missing Chinese security official. Concerned for his nephew's safety, O reluctantly helps him navigate an increasingly complex and deadly maze, one that leads down the twisted byways of O's homeland. In the tradition of Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy, and the Inspector Arkady Renko novels, "A Drop of Chinese Blood" presents an unfamiliar world, a perplexing universe where the rules are an enigma to the reader and even, sometimes, to Inspector O. Once again, James Church has crafted a story with beautifully spare prose and layered descriptions of a country and a people he knows by heart.