Snakes Can’t Run by Ed Lin – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ed Lin will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

Why do people say turn the other cheek? If someone wants to strike you again, make them go through the effort of adjusting their stance to get at your unbruised cheek.

I am a really nice guy. Almost everybody likes me, for some reason. Every once in awhile, though, I run into someone who is just out to give me a bad day. That’s fine. But I like to imagine getting back at them in my writing.
And negative book reviews? Well, many comments about books aren’t well thought-out ideas, honestly. “This book sucks” and “What a waste of my time,” are what I often see. I try to figure out who these people are. I’ll Google ‘em, try to find pictures of their faces and go to LinkedIn to see what jobs they’re at. If they went to college, I’ll search through the archives of their college newspaper to see what sort of stupid things they had to say then.

I’m all for freedom of speech. I’m all for saying what you think. But readers should know that if they publicly share their negative criticism of a mystery writer in a venue where said author can read it, they are fair game for being rendered a jerk/victim/villain in said author’s book. Sometimes I like to imagine panic in their eyes when they realize what I’m fictionally doing to them.

I certainly don’t want the negative criticism to stop. That would be a big blow to my writing process.

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.

Enjoy an Excerpt

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.


About the Author: 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.


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  1. Thanks for hosting!

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