Cold War has ended, but a reliable report reveals a plot that
could throw the Far East into turmoil. Burke Hill, clandestine
director for a Washington PR firm that's a CIA spinoff, is
tasked to find the truth about a secret agreement for Israel to
help South Korea develop nuclear weapons. This follows the new
Seoul government's request that all U.S. troops be withdrawn.
Further complicating the situation, a bomb decimates the North
Korean leadership in Pyongyang. As Hill soon discovers, a
nuclear test is scheduled in a few months. He finds a diligent
Seoul Metropolitan Police detective investigating a series of
murders he believes are targeted at civilian leaders who favor
close cooperation with America. And Captain Yun Yu-sop has
identified a ruthless Korean assassin who targets anyone who
stands in the way, including himself and Burke Hill.
known for a series of mystery novels, Chester Campbell has
returned to an earlier love with this, the second of a new
series of espionage thrillers.
The novel is an intriguing ride spread across a broad canvass,
including episodes in the U.S., Europe, North and South Korea
and Thailand. A unique twist that initially gave me pause was
casting South Koreans rather than the North as villains. As you
read, you'll realize the brilliance of that ploy.
One issue that could be distracting for some readers is the
large cast of characters, many of them with significant roles in
the story. To help alleviate confusion, Campbell has included a
list of the major characters and their roles.
The story focuses primarily on two of these characters, Burke
Hill, who was protagonist of the first of this series, and Capt.
Yun Yu-sop, a homicide detective with the Seoul Metropolitan
Police. They team up after Hill, clandestine director of a CIA
spinoff, arrives in Seoul to investigate mysterious activities
of the South Korean government which threaten stability of the
entire Pacific region. Yun, who I personally found the more
interesting of the two characters, is on the trail of an
assassin when he meets Burke. Neither is immediately aware of
how their investigations connect.
Providing a human aspect often missing from this type of
thriller is Hill's plight in being separated by duty from his
pregnant wife when she is nearing delivery of their child.
The word poksu of the title (loosely interpreted as vengeance)
has a double meaning in the story, though that doesn't become
apparent till near the end. The novel is well researched,
revealing interesting details of Korean history and culture.
Those insights were gained in part by his own visits to the Land
of the Morning Calm in the 1950s and again in the 1980s. As one
who also lived and worked in South Korea, I recognized many of
the places and scenes he describes.
While the plot may seem far-fetched, experience should tell us
anything is possible these days. Campbell's tale is well-drawn
with richly defined characters, enough action to satisfy even
the most jaded of readers and an absorbing plot. Highly
By John R.
Lindermuth, author of Practice To Deceive
READ 0PENING POKSU CHAPTERS HERE