James Church

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James Church is the pseudonym of an American author of six detective novels featuring a North Korean policeman, "Inspector O".

Church is identified on the back cover of his novels as "a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia".[1] He grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the United States, and was over sixty years old in 2009.[2] His name and identity are known in the community of North Korea watchers.[3]

His "Inspector O" novels have been well-received, being noted by Asia specialists for offering "an unusually nuanced and detailed portrait" of North Korean society.[4] A Korea Society panel praised the first book in the series for its realism and its ability to convey "the suffocating atmosphere of a totalitarian state".[5] The Independent[6] and the Washington Post compared the protagonist to Arkady Renko, the Soviet chief inspector in Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park, for providing "a vivid window into a mysterious country".[4]


The "Inspector O" series of books are published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press, in the United States.

  • A Corpse in the Koryo. 2006. ISBN 978-0-312-35208-0.
  • Hidden Moon. 2007. ISBN 978-0-312-35209-7.
  • Bamboo and Blood. 2008. ISBN 978-0-312-37291-0.
  • The Man with the Baltic Stare. 2010. ISBN 978-0-312-37292-7.
  • A Drop of Chinese Blood. 2012. ISBN 9780312550639.
  • The Gentleman from Japan. 2016. ISBN 978-0-312-61431-7.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bosch, Torie (September 6, 2011). "Why Don't More North Koreans Defect? James Church's Inspector O detective series offers surprising insights". Slate. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  2. ^ Demick, Barbara (May 2, 2009). "A novel look at North Korea". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  3. ^ "In North Korea, a hard-boiled (and fictional) cop keeps watch". The Korea Herald. AP. August 29, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Kessler, Glenn l (December 27, 2006). "The Book on North Korea: Thriller Provides Rare Glimpse of Closed Nation". Washington Post. Retrieved September 7, 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ "A Corpse in the Koryo: A North Korean Murder Mystery". Korea Society. May 8, 2007. Archived from the original on August 2, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
  6. ^ Cornwell, Rupert (February 17, 2007). "State of suspense: Unlocking the enigma of North Korea". The Independent. Retrieved September 7, 2010.

External links[edit]