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Charles Philipp Martin grew up in New York City's Greenwich Village. His father was an opera conductor and both his parents well-known opera translators and librettists who never uttered the word "parenting" but knew enough to steep their family in music and literature. After attending Columbia University and Manhattan School of Music, Martin took off for a six-year paid vacation in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.


While in Hong Kong he hung up his bow and turned to writing, spending four years as a Sunday Magazine columnist for the South China Morning Post, and writing for magazines all over Southeast Asia. His weekly jazz radio show 3 O'Clock Jump was heard every Saturday on Hong Kong’s Radio 3 for some two decades.

Neon Panic, his first novel featuring Hong Kong policeman Inspector Herman Lok, was published in 2011. The second Inspector Lok novel, Rented Grave, will be coming out in the summer of 2024. Martin now lives in Seattle with his wife Catherine. 

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