A native of Washington D.C., Ed Lynskey is the author of the crime fiction novels The Dirt-Brown Derby, The Blue Cheer, and Pelham Fell Here, all three featuring private investigator Frank Johnson. His work has appeared on major publications such as The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle. In this interview, Lynskey talks about his crime novels, and writing and inspiration.
Tell us a bit about your latest book, Pelham Fell Here. What inspired you to write it?
Pelham Fell Here is a prequel written later, in this case as the third book, of my P.I. Frank Johnson mystery series. In other words, Pelham is the first book but has been published as my third. This came about due to two different publishers and slipping release dates.
Actually I believe it has worked out better in some ways. I had the advantage of knowing the character when I wrote the back story, sort of reverse engineering. Anyway reviewers and readers have written and told me Pelham Fell Here is the most complex and fulfilling title to date in the series. That’s gratifying to hear, but I probably like it the least. So go figure.
The premise behind Pelham Fell Here is to relate just how Frank Johnson falls into the crazy private detective trade. I’ve read a number of P.I. series by vintage and contemporary authors, and I don’t know of one where that’s been previously done. Pelham is a story of self-discovery, too.
Frank returns home from his Army M.P. service, and his old assumptions of the place and the people he thought he knew are jarred. Frank prefers to view his native town its old cozy way. But all that goes out the window when his cousin Cody Chapman is found murdered.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
Avid is the perfect adjective, too. When I was four, my family migrated from the Virginia suburbs in Washington, D.C. to the sticks near a small town. Back then I was bummed, but I’m nothing but glad these days. We lived on the corner lot carved off what was once a giant plantation (growing corn and wheat, I was told) and no other kids lived near us.