The official site of author Ed Lin.

Snakes Can’t Run

Snakes Can't Run     






Set in New York City in 1976, Lin’s accomplished second novel to feature NYPD detective Robert Chow (after 2007’s This Is a Bust) finds the Chinese-American cop, who’s still haunted by memories of his service in the Vietnam War, relegated to undercover work posing as a Con Ed worker. Meanwhile, other officers in Chow’s precinct are focused on apprehending the FALN terrorists who set off a bomb right outside police headquarters. The murders of two Asian men, who are shot and dumped under the Manhattan Bridge, take Chow away from the drudgery of his undercover assignment and onto the trail of the head of a ring of human smugglers known as snakeheads. Lin portrays the police, including his lead, warts and all, and paints a convincing picture of Manhattan’s Chinatown. Readers interested in the integration of Asian-Americans into American society, as well as those who like gritty procedurals, will be well rewarded.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review


Winner, Members’ Choice, 2010 Asian American Literary Awards

Snakes Can’t Run, is the third novel by award-winning author Ed Lin. It is the sequel to 2007’s This Is a Bust. Snakes Can’t Run is published by Minotaur Books.

It’s a hot summer in New York’s Chinatown in 1976 and Robert Chow, the Chinese-American detective son of an illegal immigrant, takes on a new breed of ruthless human smugglers — snakeheads — when two bodies of smuggled Chinese are found dead under the Brooklyn Bridge overpass. But as Robert comes closer to finding some answers, he discovers a dark secret in his own family’s past.


Listed in Best American Last Sentences of Books of 2007, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008, edited by Dave Eggers.

Like an astronaut planting a flag on the moon, I’m claiming the discovery of Ed Lin and you’re all going to have to fight me for him. He’s my favorite new writer in years. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
SJ Rozan author of Shanghai Moon
Reminiscent of the urban noir of Charles Willeford…both lively and dead-on. Snakes Can’t Run is a book with fangs. It wastes no time coiling you in its plot and devouring the reader with both venomous and memorable characters.
Arthur Nersesian author of The Fuck Up
Pulsating…reminiscent of Elmore Leonard. As we follow the novel’s singular detective, Robert Chow, and delve deeper into the fascinating, labyrinthine subculture of New York’s Chinatown in the 1970s, Snakes Can’t Run becomes compulsively readable.
Don Lee author of Wrack and Ruin and Country of Origin
Ed Lin is a new gifted voice in the urban crime and mystery genre, depicting his inner landscape, New York’s Chinatown and beyond, with innate affection, sharp acuteness and understated humor. Lin’s charm oozes from the amazing arrays of characters prowling that Island-tip precinct; his tales are well-simmered mysteries, to be slowly savored and relished.
Da Chen author of Colors of the Mountain and Brothers

Snakes Can’t Run is a unique down-to-the-gritty-sidewalk police procedural. If you dig the novels of Eddie Bunker or movies like ‘King of New York’ and ‘Mean Streets,’ Ed Lin’s subterranean neighborhood is for you.
Barry Gifford author of Imagination of the Heart and Wild at Heart