Dee, Ed 1940–
Dee, Ed 1940–
(Edward J. Dee, Jr.)
PERSONAL: Born February 3, 1940, in Yonkers, NY; son of Edward J., Sr. (a highway toll collector) and Ethel (a waiter and teletype operator; maiden name, Lawton) Dee; married Nancy Lee Hazzard, October 1, 1962; children: Brenda Sue Dee Crawford, Patricia Ann Dee Flanagan. Education: Rockland Community College, Suffern, NY, A.A.S., 1974; Fordham University, Bronx, NY, B.A., 1976, law student, 1977–78; Arizona State University, M.F.A., 1992. Politics: Independent. Religion: Roman Catholic.
ADDRESSES: Home—96 Henlopen Gardens, Lewes, DE 19958. Agent—Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.
CAREER: Writer. New York Police Department (NYPD), New York, NY, police officer, 1962–82, retiring as lieutenant and supervisor of detectives in the Organized Crime Control Bureau. Military service: U.S. Army, 1958–60; U.S. Army Reserve, 1960–64.
MEMBER: Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, Superior Officers Association for Retirees.
14 Peck Slip, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Bronx Angel, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Little Boy Blue, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Nightbird, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Con Man's Daughter, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Ed Dee's background as a twenty-year veteran of the New York Police Department (NYPD) lends a great deal of authenticity to his crime novels about NYPD detective Anthony Ryan and his partner, Joe Gregory. In the series opener, 14 Peck Slip, the two men find a body floating in a barrel on the city's waterfront. It turns out to be that of a police officer who has been missing for ten years. Ryan and Gregory's investigation lead them to some shocking truths about corruption among their peers. Their story is told "in an authentic and powerful voice," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "Any writer who can sing NYPD blues like that is worth keeping an eye on." Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times Book Review also called attention to Dee's "drop-dead style and authenticity," and further commented that the author has "the eyes, the ears and especially the nose of a cop. You can see one character's fear in his jumpy movement, hear another's anger in his dirty talk. But you can smell the moral decay of the whole city."
Dee won further praise for his next novel, Bronx Angel. The story again concerns the murder of a policeman, apparently by a prostitute. With Ryan on the trail of the killer, "Mr. Dee takes us on a grand tour of the city the way it looks through Ryan's eyes," wrote Stasio in a review in the New York Times Book Review, "dirty, dangerous and so sad you wish you could look away. But you can't because you might miss something beautiful, or funny, or just plain nuts." Booklistcontributor George Needham commented that Dee's "cops are tired and wary but not burned out. They still care about nailing the bad guys; they've just surrendered some of their quixotic notions to the realities of the street."
Dee's third effort, Little Boy Blue, was lauded as an "outstanding crime novel" by Wes Lukowsky in Booklist. The reviewer praised the author's "intelligent examination of modern families,… the extended family of cops; the loyalties exhibited by the Mafia; and the many unrelated groups who band together for companionship and support in an increasingly hostile, indifferent world." A Publishers Weekly writer also found that Little Boy Blue "crackles with authenticity," and declared: "There's a hard edge to everything and nearly everyone in this gripping novel, which plays some subtle improvisations on the theme of fathers and sons, and family and its obligations, even as Dee creates a tight mystery that emanates a gritty, worldweary air."
Although Dee has been successful at reaching his literary goals with the characters of Ryan and Gregory, he leaves them behind in his 2003 novel The Con Man's Daughter. Dee tells the story of ex-cop Eddie Dunn, who is kicked off New York's police force and becomes a courier for a Russian gangster. Dunn eventually retires from this "job," but when his own daughter is kidnapped, he suspects a connection with the Russian mafia. The violence escalates as Eddie fights the mob and his own past to rescue his daughter. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Down and dirty crime fiction doesn't get any better than this." Jane Jorgenson, writing in the Library Journal, commented, "At times graphic and gripping, and then bittersweet, Dee's latest is another solid offering." A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted: "Thriller fans who like their action down and dirty and their heroes thoughtful and flawed will welcome talented Dee's latest."
Dee once told CA: "After retiring from the New York Police Department, I wanted to write about the department in a way that no one had done before. After receiving my M.F.A. in creative writing, I submitted my first book. Bronx Angel is a sequel. I intend to use the same characters in a series of books that, I hope, get to the heart of the experience of being a cop in a city like New York. I hope they get at the truth.
"The book The World according to Garp, by John Irving, is what first got me interested in writing. I am most influenced by the stories of people of inner cities, the voices I heard all my life: the accents and humor of Italians, the Polish, the Jewish wit and mostly the soft musical brogue of my Irish grandmother.
"When I am writing, I write and rewrite as many times as needed. My favorite of my books are 14 Peck Slip and The Con Man's Daughter, because both were new creative molds. I think the most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is that the normal hard edge a cop usually acquires never took hold."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 1994, Wes Lukowsky, review of 14 Peck Slip, p. 1925; July, 1995, George Needham, review of Bronx Angel, p. 1863; December 1, 1996, Wes Lukowsky, review of Little Boy Blue, p. 619.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2003, review of The Con Man's Daughter, p. 1156.
Library Journal, July, 1994, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of 14 Peck Slip, p. 125; October 15, 2003, Jane Jorgenson, review of The Con Man's Daughter, p. 96.
New York Times Book Review, July 17, 1994, Marilyn Stasio, review of 14 Peck Slip, p. 19; December 4, 1994, review of 14 Peck Slip, p. 69; August 20, 1995, Marilyn Stasio, review of Bronx Angel, p. 21; December 14, 2003, review of The Con Man's Daughter, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, May 23, 1994, review of 14 Peck Slip, p. 78; June 5, 1995, review of Bronx Angel, p. 49; November 11, 1996, review of Little Boy Blue, p. 54; September 8, 2003, review of The Con Man's Daughter, p. 52.
Wall Street Journal Western Edition, August 9, 1994, Tom Nolan, review of 14 Peck Slip, p. A12(W), A10(E); September 8, 1995, Tom Nolan, review of Bronx Angel, p. A9(W), A7(E).
Wilson Library Bulletin, October, 1994, Gail Pool, review of 14 Peck Slip, p. 90.
Ed Dee Home Page, http://www.eddeeauthor.com (November 11, 2005).