Mynton, Henry. The Pachinko Woman. Morrow. Nov 1999. c.390p. ISBN 0-688-16170-7. $25. Fiction.

Plot lines galore lead to the attempted assassination of a North Korean leader in a deadly game for regional hegemony. Matters are complicated by a dizzying array of story features and characters: money laundering, improper election fund contributions, conflicts between North and South Koreans and within North Korea between hardliners and liberals, pachinko halls, comfort women, plutonium samples, semiconductor cartels, Russian spies, FBI agents, an American lawyer, a German killer, Japanese police, corrupt politicians, a TV anchor, Korean banks, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange—not to mention Yakuza gangsters, three ex-Presidents of the United States, a Costa Rican UN worker, and a woman motivated by the Asian women’s rights movement, among others. Though marred by extraneous details, implausible coincidences, the lack of a dominant leading character, and an overwrought conclusion, this spy story deserves praise for the pseudonymous author’s control of its multiple threads, his thorough knowledge of Asian culture, and the sustained suspense.

LJ, 124, no. 15 (September 15, 1999), 113.


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