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Ed Lin

Sixty seconds with Ed Lin...

Ed Lin is a journalist by training and the author of the Robert Chow crime series, set in 1970s Manhattan Chinatown as well as his most recent standalone, GHOST MONTH. He is of Taiwanese and Chinese descent and lives with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, in New York City.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Lin: Hopeful and upbeat, smart enough to know that I don't know very much.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Lin: I'm too burned out on my all-time faves (U2's Boy and The Clash's London Calling), so maybe I'll go with a more-recent pick, If You're Feeling Sinister by Belle & Sebastian.

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Lin: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade.

M.J. McGrath

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Julie Hyzy

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September 6, 2014

Labour Day has come and gone, followed by gloomy pronouncements that summer is now well and truly over. (Never mind the temperatures.) Maybe so, but there are some considerable compensations for crime fiction readers, most particularly the release of the latest efforts of the genre's most well-regarded and popular authors and these releases seem to come earlier in the season every year. We've benefited from the largesse and begin this week with a number of these, every one of which found favour with their reviewers.

Tana French's Murder Squad is back in THE SECRET PLACE, which Barbara Fister calls a "virtuoso exploration of the pressure girls feel in adolescence." Armand Gamache has retired from the Sûreté, but that doesn't mean he's finished solving crimes. Louise Penny's latest installment in the Three Pines series, THE LONG WAY HOME sends him away to the north shore of the lower St Lawrence River to the "land God gave to Cain." Lourdes Venard says that the real strength of the book lies in its author's insight into human nature. P J Coldren confesses that she had to leave Chelsea Cain's ONE KICK at work because otherwise she'd have stayed up all night to read it - but it would have been worth it.

Male writers have not been slacking off either. The newest Jack Reacher novel, eagerly awaited by squadrons of "Reacher's creatures," is told from Jack's point of view and in the first person and takes him to Europe in pursuit of a sniper bent on assassinating world leaders. As Anne Corey remarks, "It is always a pleasure to be with Jack Reacher again." James Lee Burke's WAYFARING STRANGER takes us back to the United States during the Second World War and immediately after. Cathy Downs says that there are moments of real poetry in this saga of American success turned sour. Charles Cumming's latest account of his spy-on-hold, Thomas Kell, is thoroughly contemporary and I do like the direction Cumming is taking the spy thriller. Bess Crawford is back in Charles Todd's AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE and while Diana Borse had a few difficulties with Bess's character, she was impressed by the care and attention to detail the Todds' bring to this historical mystery.

I got to travel somewhere I've never been (or even thought about going) - Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, in Ed Lin's standalone, GHOST MONTH, and a fascinating journey it was, too. Christine Zibas also enjoyed her visit to the Italian Alps in David P. Wagner's DEATH IN THE DOLOMITES, which she can recommend to anyone who enjoys Italian life and cuisine. Arne Dahl's TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN will probably not gain the praise of the Stockholm Tourist Board but Barbara Fister says its an awfully good investigation of a crime by an heir to Sjowäl and Wahlöö.

Megan Sweeney observes that Julia Keller's SUMMER OF THE DEAD provides a sharp portrait of a small Appalachian town and its inhabitants as well as a compelling and surprising mystery. On the other hand, Sharon Mensing thought another novel set in a small community, Elizabeth Adler's LAST TO KNOW, was entertaining, but a bit light-weight.

There's something about animals and mysteries that appears to bring out the worst in editors tasked with settling on titles. Consider the following three. HOUNDED, by David Rosenfelt does have an actual hound (a Basset) on the cover and inside the book, so there's some excuse. Caryn St Clair says this legal thriller is an excellent addition to the Andy Carpenter series. PJ Coldren was less positive about Spencer Quinn's PAW AND ORDER, however, finding that telling the narrative from Chet the dog's point of view wears thin rather quickly. And Meredith Frazier concludes that PAW ENFORCEMENT by Diane Kelly, is more romance than mystery and some of the puns are pretty bad too.

Our interviewee this week (over to your left) is Ed Lin, who knows a great deal about both Joy Division and the joys of Taiwanese cuisine.

For what's going on in crime fiction in the UK, check out the latest issue of CRIMEREVIEW, where our former colleagues will let you know what's being issued in the UK these days.

Now if all this doesn't keep your pockets empty or your library reserve lists full, I don't know what will. But in any case, we'll be back on our regular schedule in two weeks with more, much more.



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Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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