Ed Lacy is the pen name of Leonard S. Zinberg, who was born in New York City in 1911. He continued to live in New York throughout most of his life, gaining an intimate familiarity with the city that proved to be very useful to his fiction writing. He and his wife, Esther, had one child, a daughter named Carla.
Lacy began his writing career in 1940 with the nondetective novel Walk Hard—Talk Loud, which is set in the world of boxing, a milieu that would become a lifelong interest. During World War II, he served as a correspondent for Yank. After the war, he met some writers, and although they were poor, according to his account, he decided that theirs was the career that he would pursue. From that time, Lacy earned his livelihood as a freelance writer. After a slow start, he saw some success with his first detective novel, The Woman Aroused (1951), intended to be a satire. He wrote dozens of stories that were published in such periodicals as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, The Saint, Esquire, The New Yorker, and Collier’s. Finally, after four nondetective and five detective novels, The Best That Ever Did It (1955), a caper novel, achieved considerable popularity. Three years later, Lacy received the Edgar for Room to Swing. Lacy also was awarded a Twentieth Century Fox Literary Fellowship.
Lacy died on January 7, 1968, in New York City. His manuscript collection is currently held in the Mugar Memorial Library at Boston University.