The Living Room of the Dead
by Eric Stone
Bleak House Books, 2007
This is noir at its finest. Uncensored, raw and unpredictable. The fact that author, Eric Stone has lived and worked throughout Asia is apparent with lines like, “It’s drizzling the hot sour soup that squeezes out of the filthy tureen that a lot of the year passes for the sky over Hong Kong.”
All the research or anecdotal information of place will never take the reader ‘there’ as lines like that do. I am really glad to read that this is the first Ray Sharp
novel as I want to get inside this character’s head some more. An important note however; The Living Room of the Dead
is based on real events. Once you know that, the scenes that make you squirm will make you squirm a lot longer. Not to say that he has not created a great book of fiction, but given that the story is based on the unforgiving sex slave trade in numerous parts of Russia and Asia, makes this an important piece. If you enjoyed reading Mo Hayder’s The Devil of Nanking,
then you might know the kind of power a work of fiction can pack. Stone’s own words speak how this book made me feel. “It’s beautiful and I’m not afraid. The snapping of electricity above me, in the nearing distance sizzling out of the clouds, hissing in the air that pounds at me from all sides, everything’s juiced….It’s power that doesn’t take sides, that doesn’t give a shit about me…” Stone may be talking about the weather here but it is one of the pivotal metaphors for the subject matter of this outstanding novel. Read it, you will not forget it and like myself, it will leave you wanting more.