James Church: Bamboo and Blood
St Martin’s Press, 2008
After Inspector O’s slightly disappointing second outing, James Church is back on form with the third novel in the series, Bamboo and Blood. In another fast-paced story, set against the backdrop of the North Korean 1997 famine and the US-DPRK talks in Geneva, Inspector O is given his usual unsatisfactory mission (“just sweep up a few facts, and don’t dig too deep”) by his boss who always knows more than he lets on. Arms dealers and Mossad agents spice up the tale with an international flavour, all told with Church’s drily witty prose.
“You hungry? I’ll buy you lunch”. There hadn’t been food for lunch for a long time, but we still made the offer sometimes, out of habit.
The plot seems all to close to the bone:
Many of the events mentioned in this story actually happened, though not necessarily at the time, in the sequence, or exactly in the way they swirl around Inspector O. For that reason, and many others, this book is a work of fiction,
says Church in an introductory note. The fact that the story is so grounded in actual events adds to the enjoyment.