Friday, October 27, 2017
Snakes Can't Run by Ed Lin - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway
by Ed Lin
After you read about the book be sure to read Ed's post on World Building.
GENRE: FICTION/Mystery & Thriller
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.
Ed's Take on World Building
I’ve been accused of doing more world-building than plotting out a mystery. That may be valid because I think the separation of “good guys” and “bad guys” as characters is so dumb. We all have a subjective morality. We all believe in karma to a degree. We read about some kid being bullied and share it online and we share the story thousands of times on social media. The bullied kid becomes this presence that everybody wants to build up and protect while the bully is demonized a thousand times over.
Of course it’s wrong that anybody is bullied but the story takes on a archetype in which we deny the bullied her own complexity and bully is denied her own nuanced existence. Maybe the victim really enjoys shoplifting and online porn. Maybe the bully lives in an abusive home and power plays are the only way she knows how to relate to people.
I enjoy exploring the complications, the strange destinies that all the characters need to fulfill. I can’t remember who said it, but there’s an adage that there’s no such thing as a simple, isolated crime. In Dog Day Afternoon, for example, the bank robbery was supposed to pay for a sex-reassignment operation, and to get two siblings out of foster care. Life is strange, and mysteries today should accommodate as much as of the messy and absurd as possible while remaining an intelligible story. Moreover, it has to be believable, while real life doesn’t have to be.
I feel like we are all alive to do good things for the people we love, if not everybody. This may or may not come at the expense of people we either don’t know or don’t like. Fiction is a zero-sum game. There is a poetic justice that a reader is acutely aware of. I want to make complex characters, put them in nuanced situations and have readers feel the thrill of almost getting away with “it.”
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.
Ed Lin will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.