The Mysterious Bookshop

Howard Browne - Halo for Hire: The Complete Paul Pine Mysteries

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“Of all of Raymond Chandler’s followers, the most Chandlerish of them all might have been Howard Browne. His private eye hero, PAUL PINE, is simply one of the great eyes, no matter how inspired by (or derivative of ) Chandler’s Philip Marlowe he might have been. All the Pine books are well worth reading, and A Taste of Ashes (1957) in particular is just a flat-out, stone-cold private eye classic. Pine is a former investigator for the Illinois State attorney’s office in Chicago who works as a P.I. in Chicago. He’s got the obligatory cynicism, snappy similes and metaphors down pat, though he tends to be a bit more down to earth than Marlowe, and often mocks his own tendencies to moroseness and world-weariness. And let’s face it — Browne was a stronger plotter than Chandler. In 1985, almost thirty years after Pine’s last appearance, Dennis McMillan published a book The Paper Gun. That volume collected the only previously-published Pine story, “So Dark For April,” plus an incomplete Pine novel that Browne, in the foreword, called “a story complete in itself. But it is not the whole novel.” He states that he had lost interest in the private eye genre, and so the story is only 122 pages in length, too long for a short story, but too short for a novel.’ — adapted from “Paul Pine” by Kevin Burton Smith, www.thrillingdetective.com

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