From the author of Waylaid as well as the Robert Chow mystery series comes the latest in Ed Lin’s Taipei Night Market series, Death Doesn’t Forget—out now from Soho Crime!
Jing-nan is owner of a popular night market food stall—and he’s been framed for a recent string of high-profile murders. He’s got to disentangle the complex details of case to clear his name—and preserve his livelihood. Both funny and compelling, Death Doesn’t Forget is the fourth book in the series.
Death Doesn't Forget
What makes this especially effective is the vibrant setting of the night market. “Everybody goes to the night markets!” Lin said. “Even the people who hate them end up going fairly often. Taipei is so much better looking at night, and people are happier when they're stuffing their mouths. Night markets are crossroads of different economic and social strata. Even the presidents go to night markets!”
While Lin is Taiwanese, he was born in the United States. “I was born in the U.S. but I feel like I've grown up with Taiwan. My father's family are longtime Taiwanese, and we visited the island back when it was still under martial law,” Lin told us. “I remembered that at 5 pm every day all traffic stopped and everybody stood still while the flag was lowered. Now, Taiwan is one of the most free and equal democracies in East Asia, but the wider public regards it as the flashpoint for a potential U.S./China conflict. That is, if they don't confuse it with Thailand. I'm here to give voice to the people and cultures that are a bit out of the spotlight, and to give humanity to crime and murder.”
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This reverent humanization gives Lin’s books their extra spark, with fully-developed characters and honest storylines. “My family ran a low-end motel on the Jersey shore, and I met a lot of questionable characters (our customers). During the off-season, the most hard-luck, desperate people would stay with us,” Lin reflected. “Families that lost their homes to the banks would move in. I can empathize with the downtrodden who feel they have few options, a situation that often leads to them committing crimes.” In Lin’s books as in real life, the characters are neither fully “good” nor completely “bad”—they’re simply human. This charges his stories with a fervent empathy that is often lacking in other mystery tales.
Lin grew up on Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Three Investigators books, so he’s no stranger to mystery tropes and genre conventions. However, he keeps his stories fresh by challenging himself to do fun and interesting things with each book. “Death Doesn't Forget is my first book written in the third person,” he said. “I was influenced by James T. Farrell and his great body of work examining the Irish immigrant and Irish American communities. He did many cool things in the third person that I flat-out stole.
And as for what makes this particular installment in the Night Market series special for him? “The first three books in the series were set during holidays celebrated by the Han majority of Taiwan,” Lin said. “This one is focused on the marginalized aboriginal communities, and how neglected they are unless it's an election year.”
But the characters—and the people they’re meant to honor—are the real beating heart of this series, as well as the book. “Taiwanese people are the kindest you'll ever meet. Even the people in organized crime are incredibly polite,” Lin said. “Everyone will go out of their way to watch out for you. That's an island culture. Everyone pulls together.”
Mystery lovers won’t want to miss Death Doesn’t Forget—it’s an unforgettable ride.