Monday, September 17, 2007

Pg. 69: Eric Stone's "Grave Imports"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Eric Stone's Grave Imports.

About the book, from the author's website:
A routine investigation into a Chinese art supplies company unearths a smuggling ring. The trail leads through a warehouse filled with looted antiquities in the boomtown of Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong; to the lair of a vicious ex-South Vietnamese general now living in Thailand; and finally to the murderous Khmer Rouge in the ancient temples and more recent killing fields of Cambodia. Based on the sordid facts of the illegal trade in stolen Cambodian art, Grave Imports is a hotpot of high adventure in exotic locales, fascinating characters, international commerce, terrible crime and one mixed-up, reluctant hero trying to shed light into some of the darkest corners of Asia.
Among the early praise for Grave Imports:
"Ray Sharp (The Living Room of the Dead) earns a living investigating Asian companies as possible investments for U.S. businesses. A routine probe into a Chinese art-supplies company has Ray following an antiquities smuggling ring from Hong Kong to mainland China to Cambodia. It is 1995, and art smuggling is a money maker for a Vietnamese ex-general, the Khmer Rouge, and every lowlife in Southeast Asia. What starts as a fast-paced thriller turns into a deeper social novel concerned with poverty, slavery, and the best and worst of the human condition. This will appeal to fans of John Burdett and Colin Cotterill, as well as patrons who enjoy exotic Asian settings and a mystery plot with some substance."
Library Journal (starred review)

"A complacent reader will not get the full affect of books such as Grave Imports. It is a mystery/thriller but it is also a commentary on the modern world, its foibles and its fancies. The world seen through Ray Sharp's eyes is not a pretty world, it is not nice and heart, but it has heart and hope. The story starts with a statue of heads, it ends in a temple of a head — a fitting symbol of this thriller for the thinking man."
Front Street Reviews

"The exotic and dangerous East comes to vibrant life in Grave Imports by Eric Stone. Bristling with fascinating details about culture, customs, and history, the story hurls the reader on a violent journey into the dark underworld of illicit art transportation and sales. Relax into your favorite easy chair. You're in for a wild and riveting ride."
—Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Spymaster

"Eric Stone knows Asia up, down, and sideways, all of which are positions his characters find themselves in. He takes you to places so riveting, through the eyes of people so appealing, it makes you wish you were in on the action, running with them through the streets of Hong Kong, Bangkok, and everywhere else they go."
—SJ Rozan, Edgar Award winning author of In This Rain

"A multi-course Asian feast of a novel, Grave Imports is an engaging odyssey into a world of exotic plunder, where heritage and humanity are sold down the river by zealous warlords and high-living thugs. Dig in, savor the spice, and come back for seconds."
—Dan Fesperman, author of The Prisoner of Guantanamo

"Grave Imports is a terrific read. Stone's keen eye for the Asian landscape always finds the compelling image, the startling fact. The story is harrowing and believable. And his hero, Sharp, is a refreshingly humble soldier in his fight against what is wrong and evil in the world."
—T. Jefferson Parker, author of L.A. Outlaws

"Gangster genocidal revolutionaries, greedy gangster generals, and an assortment of well-heeled graspers and ruthless anglers plague Stone's Ray Sharp in Grave Imports as the hustle is on in the underground market of rarified antiquities. Sharp, who slips between the gloss and the back alleys of Asia, may not have an inside line with the Buddha, but he knows it's the past that anchors us to our sins, and it's in how we try to make it right in the present that counts."
—Gary Phillips, author of Bangers and Citizen Kang

"In this intriguing tale of loss and redemption, Eric Stone takes the reader on a wild ride through the ruined temples, sordid back alleys, and the damaged soul of Cambodia. Grave Imports is a smart and compelling thriller."
—Dianne Emley, author of Cut to the Quick
Read an excerpt from Grave Imports and learn more about book and author at Eric Stone's website.

The Page 69 Test: Grave Imports.

--Marshal Zeringue