Interview with mystery author Ed Lin

Wrapping up this week on Friday the 13th is mystery author Ed Lin. He’s talking with me about
his new novel, Snakes Can’t Run.

During his virtual book tour, Ed will be giving away a limited edition
print copy of Snakes Can’t Run to a
lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your
chances of winning, feel free to visit
his other tour stops
and enter there, too!

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.

Welcome, Ed. Please share a
little bit about your current release.
It’s the story about a cop in 1970s Chinatown trying to track down
snakeheads, human traffickers. He doesn’t have the tools that we have now to
stop criminality but he does have a lot of heart. Unfortunately, he’s not going
to like what he finds.

What inspired you to write this
The conversation that we continue to have in this country about
immigration and documentation status have been on my mind. The exploitation of
those in the gray areas is something I’m quite attuned to.

Excerpt from Snakes Can’t Run:
By the time I got to Henry
Street under the Manhattan Bridge overpass, one black-and-white and one
unmarked police car were already there.

Peepshow was standing at the
edge of the crime scene, twirling his baton, the one thing he could do without
fucking up. “Keep moving, keep moving!” he yelled to the murmuring
Chinese people. He touched his cap when he saw me. I nodded back.

Two bodies, Asian men in
their twenties, lay on their sides. Both had their hands tied behind them with
wire. They didn’t look fresh, and one man’s tattoo behind his ears stood out in
sharp contrast to the white bloodless flesh of his neck.

I walked up to English, but
before I could say anything he put a hand on my shoulder.

“These fucking bag
monkeys won’t let me past the tape,” he said, pointing out the forensic
team collecting samples around the bodies.

“They’re just trying to
do their job right.”

“I’ll do their job for
them right now. These guys died from gunshot wounds and the bodies were dumped
here. You can analyze for blood type all you want, but you can’t find the
criminals looking down a microscope.”

“I hear you.”

“You know what solves


“Shoe leather. Walking
around and asking questions.”

“All right.”

“Chow,” he said,
coming in closer. “You see the guy in the crowd in the red knit shirt
smoking a cigarette?”

“Yeah,” I said,
knowing better than to look immediately.

“I don’t like his face.
Too smug.”

“I’ll follow him.”

What exciting story are you
working on next?
I have a series set in Taipei that’s published by Soho Crime, so I’m
working on the third book. It combines the thrilling flavors of the night
markets with the thrills of a murder mystery.

When did you first consider
yourself a writer?
Since I first began to struggle to write. I guess I am still
struggling, at times!

Do you write full-time? If so,
what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do
you find time to write?

I have a day job. I edit financial news and that takes up the 9-5 slot.
I really love the energy of the markets. There’s not a little bit of money tied
into it as well, and how that not be interesting?

What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
I collect old Macintoshes and I do my writing on pre-Intel Powerbooks.
They feel more solid, like they’re muscle cars, and it’s not like one can write
faster on the latest Macbook Air.

As a child, what did you want to
be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an astronaut when I was very young, and then a baseball
star later on, and then finally a bass player in a band like the Velvet
Underground. Luckily, as a writer, I can live in all of those occupations!

Anything additional you want to
share with the readers?
Well, thank you for reading this far down in the post. I hope you have
a great day and that wonderful things happen for you soon.

Thanks for being a guest today,

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