The 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 This follows the new Seoul government's request that all U.S. troops be withdrawn.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.


The First Review


Best 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 recommended.


     By John R. Lindermuth, author of Practice To Deceive



The Poksu Conspiracy



Published by

Night Shadows Press


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