Snakes Can't Run
by Ed Lin
GENRE: FICTION/Mystery & Thriller
Set in New York City in 1976, Snakes Can't Run finds NYPD detective Robert Chow still haunted by the horrors of his past and relegated to tedious undercover work. When the bodies of two undocumented Chinese men are found under the Brooklyn Bridge underpass, Chow is drawn into the case. Most of the officers in his precinct are concerned with a terrorist group targeting the police, but Chow's investigation puts him on the trail of a ring of ruthless human smugglers who call themselves the snakeheads. As Chow gets closer to solving the murder, dangerous truths about his own family's past begin to emerge. Steeped in retro urban attitude, and ripe with commentary on minorities' roles in American society, this gritty procedural will appeal to fans of George Pelecanos and S.J. Rozan.
The mind is a funny thing. After I got on the wagon and fell in love with a girl, I started seeing my father out in the streets. I didn't literally see his ghost walking around, but I'd see his nose in profile on another guy's face. Sometimes I'd be walking behind someone who had his slouchy shuffle, his spotted ears, or the back of the head that looked like an elderly porcupine with spikes gone soft and white.
One time, a hand reached out to my shoulder and touched me exactly where he used to touch me from his chair after dinner to ask me to get him a beer from the fridge.
Of course it wasn't my father. It was an older guy who wanted to know if I was the guy whose pictures used to be in all the Chinese newspapers. The man was almost completely bald and had two light brown spots on the top right of his head that looked like an imprint from a woman's high-heeled shoe.
He called me the Sheriff of Chinatown. I tried to get away from him as soon as possible, but he was one of those people who liked to say good-bye and then ask another question just when you're about to part. The guy ended up grabbing both of my hands twice before I was able to make the corner and get away. I checked that my wallet was still in my pocket, though, just in case he had been working me with a partner. I guess he was genuinely glad to meet me.
An Interview With Ed Lin
1.Did you always want to be an author?
Not always. I had earlier ambitions to be an astronaut or a a bass player in a band like the Velvet Underground. But writing books is sort of my rock n’ roll.
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
It was actually delayed by 9/11. My publisher was scrappy indie Kaya Press and at the time their offices were in the so-called frozen zone near the World Trade Center. My editor Sunyoung Lee couldn’t access her office so it wasn’t until several months later in May 2002 when my debut Waylaid was published. In the months between I was processing 9/11 and the dot-com I was working at had shut down.
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre in which you write?
My favorite dead mystery author is Charles Willeford. I love his appreciation and celebration of the absurd. Even his autobiographical works shine with such candor and wit, I can only hope I make people feel half of what he sparked in me.
4.What’s the best part of being an author? The worst?
When I tap into the taoist part of my mind, I can see the “positive” and “negative” aspects of pretty much anything. It’s tough at times to edit a manuscript and get it to the best it can be. It’s hard, and it feels like the hardest thing in the world to do at times, but I don’t want to do anything else. It’s gratifying to read a “good” review and somewhat mortifying to read a “bad” review. One thing that is 100% great is going to Bouchercon and having that one person come up to say they loved a book.
5.What projects are you working on now?
I’m always writing. Right now, I’m writing the third book in the Taiwan mystery series I have with Soho Crime. I’m also psyched for the upcoming release of The Usual Santas, a holiday-themed anthology of Soho authors. I love the story I have in it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ed Lin, a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards and is an all-around standup kinda guy. His books include Waylaid and This Is a Bust, both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Snakes Can't Run and One Red Bastard, which both continue the story of Robert Chow set in This Is a Bust, were published by Minotaur Books. His latest book, Ghost Month, a Taipei-based mystery, was published by Soho Crime in July 2014. Lin lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and son.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Ed Lin will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.