The Man with the Baltic Stare: An Inspector O Novel
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The mysterious Inspector O is once again drawn into a web of concessions and cover-ups in the newest mystery from critically acclaimed author James Church.
Autumn brings unwelcome news to Inspector O: wrenched from retirement, he has been ordered to Pyongyang for an assignment. The two Koreas are now cooperating--very quietly--to maintain stability in the North. Stability requires compromise; stability requires peace; stability requires that O investigate a crime of passion committed by the young man who has been selected as the best leader of a transition government.
O is instructed to make sure the case goes away. Then he learns that several groups―remnants of the old regime, foreign powers, rival gangs―all want a piece of the action, and all make clear that if O values his life, he will not get in their way. O isn't sure where his loyalties lie, and he doesn't have much time to figure out whether ‘tis better to be noble or be dead.
Once again, James Church's spare, lyrical writing illuminates an unfamiliar landscape of whispers and shadows, a place few outsiders have ever experienced. The Man with the Baltic Stare is a chilling, atmospheric noir―a fascinating response to the works of Martin Cruz Smith and John Le Carre.
more weeks. If it gets bad enough, come down to the farm. We have a little extra this year. I hear there will be more coming from over there.” He nodded toward the south. “Next week, we’re having our spring music show. You like music?” “What’s not to like?” “It’s an accordion group. Six of them, very spirited. We won the county competition last year.” “Is that so? They must be good.” Accordion music was a Russian plot, the old men in our village used to say after a few drinks. It was
farewell to my knees. It was hopeless. I would have to be wheeled around from now on. “I also seem to recall—and you or the major will correct me if I am mistaken—that he went home in defeat, having failed to take Pyongyang.” I picked up my cup. It was very delicate. If I crushed it between my fingers, I would not be doing history any favors. Pang sipped his tea. “All the better for Major Su to return and remedy that.” He smiled. “You could be valuable to your people, Inspector. If you’d rather
coins.” “You are where?” “Past St. Dominic’s, and a few steps beyond the ice cream.” “There are two phones? The one on the right does not work?” “Correct.” “Then we are very near to each other!” “God’s will,” I said, only because I had a feeling it might get me somewhere. “Unlikely. No, in this case I suspect it was the Ministry of State Security man who parks his van near the Lisboa at night to keep an eye on the Russian prostitutes and their clients. You talked to him?” “I don’t know
I find your house in flames.” “My grandfather’s carpentry tools were in there, you Chinese bastard.” “Well, that’s a loss, I’d say.” I got out and ran over to Zhao’s car. “By the time I finish with you, you’ll beg me to kill you.” It wasn’t clear what I was going to do next. I wasn’t armed, and beating on the car with my fists didn’t seem much of a follow-up. Zhao moved closer to the window, so I could see him clearly. He stared at me for a moment; then the glass went up and the car drove
message. That would be his lifeline. But the message didn’t come.” “Why not? It was delivered.” Kang bit off the last word. He knew he had gone too far. Or he wanted me to think he had. “Yes, it was delivered. It showed up the first night, exactly according to plan. But the concierge held it. The DO NOT DISTURB light was on. The next morning, word came in that the message was to be ‘misplaced’ for another day or so. The concierge didn’t ask why. He just put it in the bottom drawer. Once that