RARA-AVIS: RE:Howard Browne and William Campbell Gault

From: Dick Lochte ( dlock@ix.netcom.com)
Date: 24 Apr 2000

Mark wrote:

"The Paul Pine books were one of, if not the first PI series I read after Chandler and Hammett. The Halo books blew me away. Then I searched for years before finding a copy of A Taste for Ashes. It was even better.

Browne's non-series book Thin Air was also impressive and was the basis of an episode of both Rockford Files and Simon & Simon, one of which Browne co-wrote (I forget which one, but I think it was S & S)." Browne is one of the greats. I've always thought the Pine books were the closest any writer has come to matching Chandler's style, although Roy Huggins did a fair job of it, too, in "The Double Take." Huggins used Browne's script-writing talents quite a bit on the TV series "Maverick" and
"77 Sunset Strip." I can't imagine why he neglected him on "Rockford," other than to use the novel. Not that the series was lacking in good writers. The deal on "Thin Air," according to Browne, is that Universal bought the book outright. The set up and solution is so good, it has been used at least a half-dozen times on the studio's various TV crime series. I think Browne said it had been used in a western series, too. A similar plot device is featured in the recent feature film, "Breakdown."

Bill Crider wrote:

 "DAY OF THE RAM is part of the Brock (The Rock) Callahan series, and I like all the books in it. Some people prefer Gault's Joe Puma books, but I like the Callahan stories just as well."

Fans of Joe Puma would do well to avoid Gault's Brock Callahan caper, "The Cana Diversion." The author does an astonishing 180 on the character of Puma. Dick Lochte

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