Hugh Lessig grew up in a blue-collar household in eastern Pennsylvania. As a child, he listened to his father and uncle tell stories of the road. They were truck drivers who hauled slate, dry goods and cement into New Jersey and New York. Along the way, they met plenty of characters and saw people do weird things behind the wheel. To them, it was shop talk. They were better storytellers than they realized.
Lessig longed to tell stories, too, but he found life safer behind a keyboard than a steering wheel. He embarked on a journalism career after graduating from Moravian University, and worked at newspapers in Lebanon and Bloomsburg, Pa. He enjoyed finding his own characters: the good guys, ne’er do wells and just plain odd.
After 12 years in Pennsylvania, he continued his newspaper career in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Writing about state government, he shared cars with governors and senators. As a military reporter, he covered the Navy’s relief effort for the 2010 Haiti earthquake, spent time onboard aircraft carriers and sailed under the ocean on a Virginia class submarine.
But characters always made the story, and that helped fuel his love for writing fiction.
When you work in newspapers for 30 years, you see what happens when regular people are placed in extraordinary situations. They win the lottery or get caught in mass layoffs. They rescue a child from a burning building or find their spouse in bed with a lover. That’s what drives Lessig’s fiction, not the criminal geniuses or serial killers, but the guy next door.
His initial short stories were published in Thuglit, Plots With Guns, Crime Factory and Needle: A Magazine of Noir. More recently, his stories can be found in anthologies from Down & Out Books. Those include the first two volumes of “Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir”; and “Groovy Gumshoes: Private Eyes in the Psychedelic Sixties.”
His first novella, “Refried Beans and Snub-Nosed .44,” is part of the Guns + Tacos series, also from Down & Out.
“Fadeway Joe” is his debut novel.
Today, Lessig works in public communications for Newport News Shipbuilding. He lives on the grounds of Fort Monroe, Virginia, a former Army base, with Shana, his companion and best friend ever, and their dog, Gus.