The Korean Woman

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and #Netgalley for an advance copy of #TheKoreanWoman in exchange for an honest review. 

I'm finding it very difficult to write a review for this book as I only liked one aspect of it. The idea of a book centered around a sleeper agent from North Korea had me looking forward to reading it but I have to say that it didn't live up to my expectations. The only part I truly liked was Song Sun Young's story and her internal fight between loyalties in North Korea and her loyalties to her family in the states. I wasn't interested in the storyline that followed the other characters.
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An excellent thriller.  The main character is not what she appears.  Her life is a carefully built story that is about to explode.  John Altman has taken many different characters and blended them into a politically charged story where loyalties are mixed and actions are not always what they seem.  As the story changes directions often, readers must pay close attention to keep up.  The story grabs your undivided attention at the very beginning and gives you enough action and back story to keep the pages turning.  
A sleeper agent has been activated.  How she came to be an agent is only one segment of the story.  Her cover has been detected but not her assignment so she must be monitored and left to move freely.  As she works toward her goal, John Altman adds another twist to the action.  The story speeds up as the agent's actions and the consequences multiply.  As we race toward the end, you're not sure who is the good guy and who is the bad.  I'll most certainly be looking for more books by this author.
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Mi-Hi is really Song.  She's not really an innocent house wife. She's a North Korean sleeper agent and she's been activated to due Pyong Yang's will- and her brother's life hangs in the balance.  A nicely done thriller than mines topical issues, this will grab you.  Those who know how things really work know that CIA is not the lead agency in the US (that's FBI) but do with it for the characters of Song, Dalia. and Ben, who is carrying a psychic burden. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.   Unrealistic in many ways but plausible in others, this is a good example of the genre and it's a page turner.
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An ARC was given to me in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so unexpectedly blown out of the water by this book! 

Song was such an amazing character! She was well developed and way more than your usual YA protagonist. The author writes her to be a strong, capable, female lead and a soft, vulnerable woman who has so much to lose. I think that so many authors write their female protagonists to be either an unfeeling killer or weak doormat with no other traits but this author does an amazing job of making characters that are believable and inspiring. 

This was a top-notch espionage thriller but the author also manages to sneak in Song's family life to juxtapose her spy work. It makes for a protagonist that you can truly root for to win. The story is thrilling and full of drama and action while having likable, multidimensional characters. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A powerful thriller with a female character Song Sun Young.  Forced into a labour camp in North Korea, her mother dies and she and her brother are left.   The escape twice through ingenuity, but are recaptured.  The RBC recogise her potential and trains her as a sleeper spy.  She goes to New York City, but her brother is kept behind as insurance and Song knows if she doesn’t obey he will be killed.  7 years later, happily married with two kids the call comes in!   Devasted she obeys, then realizes she is being watched by the CIA and other intelligence services and makes a run in the middle of the night.   The chase is the crux of the story, the author has build up all the characters and now we see how they perform.  Song runs and runs, avoiding capture by devious means.  Desperate to talk to the husband and tell him she loves him and the kids, she calls.  She is tracked and the inevitable happens, but maybe not quite how you expect!   There are many twists and turns that keep the story interesting.  If you like thrillers, this is one for you.   Recommended.
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The Korean Woman is a well-crafted espionage thriller focusing on a North Korean sleeper agent planted in the U.S. for seven years during which she married and began to raise her children. Altman gives his readers a look at Song’s life in North Korea, where her family was deemed enemies of the state and sent to a camp, leading to the death of her mother. This thought provoking and engaging story is full of action and drama. The characters are likeable and dynamic. It will pull you in and keep you guessing until the end. Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced read in exchange for this review.
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John Altman brings back Dalia Artzi, a retired Israeli agent and tactical genius, who last appeared in False Flag.  Artzi is working as a professor in Princeton when she is approached by Jim McConnell of the CIA.  They have been watching Song Sun Young, a wife and mother of two small children in New York.  Song is also known as Mi-Hi Abraham, Mi-Hi Pyung and Park Ha-Soo, a sleeper agent from the RBG, North Korea’s intelligence service.  After becoming complacent in her role as Mrs. Abraham, she has received a call to re-activate.

Song becomes aware of the surveillance that has been set up around her and goes on the run.  This becomes a race to stop her before she can complete her mission, but Song has been trained for this day and stays one step ahead of her persuers.  It is Artzi who must discover her weaknesses and exploit them to find her.  As the agents track Song, they are unaware that one of their group has an agenda of his own.  Suffering from the loss of his father and the effects of working as a responder on 9/11, he has devised a plan to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear threat that would involve untold collateral damage.

Altman gives his readers a look at Song’s life in North Korea, where her family was deemed enemies of the state and sent to a camp, leading to the death of her mother.  She and her brother escaped twice and came to the attention of the RBG.  While Song was trained as an agent, her brother was held to ensure her obedience.  This picture of Song is in contrast to the woman who is involved in school functions and cooks dinner as her children watch cartoons.

Altman increases the tension throughout his story until the final scenes, where the agent’s plan is revealed.  It is an ending that will leave you wondering about the vulnerabilities of our defense systems.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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The "Korean Woman" is a very well-crafted thriller. The plot revolves around the activation of a "sleeper" spy from North Korea. The "Korean Woman" is living a very contented life, having been married and is in the process of raising children. This is something of a domestic thriller, but not entirely. On the surface, this sounds like a very implausible plot, but Altman is very successful in developing this character and her motivation. If you are a reader looking for a strong female character, "The Korean woman" delivers. The strongest part of the story involves a chase by a group of Central Intelligence Agency spooks, using all sorts of high-tech equipment, but the spy manages to elude them using low-tech methods. I am reminded of an old movie, "Lonely are the Brave" in which a criminal is being pursued by the authorities with almost unlimited resources. In that movie, the viewer winds up rooting for the criminal. Altman takes this premise in a different direction, and does it very well. He has some pretty good twists up his sleeve along the way.

I was a little less impressed with the character development of the Central Intelligence Agency pursuers, however. They were not as well developed, particularly the character named Bach. I also was not a fan of the ending of the book, largely due to the undeveloped characters among the pursuers of "The Korean Woman." I think this book could be a lot stronger with better development of the characters pursuing the spy.

If you enjoy a good chase scenario with a small taste of domestic thriller, this book will provide that for you.
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An exceptional novel with an intriguing premise. I don't want to call it a thriller. It's certainly a page turner but this novel is much more than a thriller. Altman gets us inside the head of Mi-Hi Abrahams, a seemingly typical upscale  housewife, but she's really a North Korean sleeper spy who has just been activated. In the wrong hands this premise could have been cartoonish but Altman's deft talent shines through. We get inside Mi-Hi's head and are jarringly forced to see that each horrific action she takes was really the only one she could. Thought-provoking and well-written.
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**3.5 Stars**

An engaging thriller. Song was a very strong, capable female lead and I was intrigued by her character. She was the most fascinating part of the novel so I wish the focus was more on her. The novel kept my interest for most of though I did find myself drifting at a few parts, but all in all, I was entertained. Thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for the opportunity to read this.
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Song Sun Young is a North Korean sleeper.  The horrors of her youth and even her "escape" from North Korea have deeply scarred her.  Now living in America married and with two children she hopes the call to duty never arrives.   She is now American and has a family.  She is unaware that American intelligence already knows who she is and it is watching her.  When the call comes, things fall apart its not just one agent, but terrorists, and nuclear threats.  

Reminiscent of the old Cold War spy novels, Altman creates a new paradigm of players with the US still making up one side.  The Soviet Union is no longer and China although not an ally is linked too closely to the US to become the new enemy.  North Korea now makes the perfect enemy.  Its missiles and nuclear weapons can hit the US shores, and in fiction, they are more advanced.  Russia and China play the neutral middle seeking power but not confrontation unless provoked.  Although not exactly the real world situation, the storyline makes for good reading.  As with the Cold War-style novels of the past, the reader must realize that this is fiction much like a Bond movie -- entertainment with a hint of fantasy.
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Altman has created an engrossing thriller in The Korean Woman. Great insights into North Korea and a plot that holds interest.
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The Korean Woman is a thrilling story about an activated sleeper agent from North Korea. There's a problem,though. She has a family. Also, unknown to her, the cover is blown,and someone is after her. What would you do? It's a terrible situation, so it makes a good story. It's engaging and full of action and drama. The characters are likeable and dynamic. It will pull you in and keep you guessing until the end. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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If you ever wondered what is would be like to be a sleeper agent living in the United States then this is the book for you.

Suddenly activated from her normal family life as a wife and mother, Mi-Mi is thrust into her former identity as a North Korean agent sent to the U. S. to be available for clandestine activities when the time comes.  But all is not what it appears and you soon learn there is someone else with nefarious purposes in mind manipulating the strings behind the scene.  Friend or foe?  That remains to be seen.

Well written with a thrilling ending I think you will thoroughly enjoy this book.  Release date is in April, 2019.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced read in exchange for this review.

Song Sun Young is a North Korean sleeper agent.  She's married and has children.  She's been waiting for a call for 7 years, and she hopes that it never comes.  She's living a pretty good life in NYC. The call comes.  Unfortunately and unbeknownst to her, the CIA has already broken her cover.  She's being tracked.  There's so much at stake.

A good, solid thriller that took me on a wild ride.  My one criticism is that I didn't feel like i knew Song very well at the end of it.  I know the book is about her and there are glimpses of her past, but I still felt disconnected from her.  She seemed like a strong lead who had so much to lose, but that was all I got from it.  Still, a good read that kept me guessing!
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Captivating, suspenseful, entertaining novel! This beautiful thriller kept me on the edge of my seat while I was reading it! Would highly recommend to those who enjoy this genre.
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