RARA-AVIS: Howard Browne

From: Anders Engwall (ERA) ( Anders.Engwall@era.ericsson.se)
Date: 11 Jun 2001

Just finished the Paul Pine series. The Halo trio have a few shortcomings that have alrady been pointed out; excessive Chandlerisms, plot points so improbable they are almost ridicilous and a very bigoted attitude towards lesbians in HALO IN BRASS. It also struck me how similar the endings were to each other. Nevertheless, I really liked the books. I just kept on reading and wasn't close to being bored even once. The guy could certainly write.

Now, TASTE OF ASHES is something else. If Browne's reputation should rest on one single novel, this is it. There are a couple of obvious surface differences to the Halo books; there are considerably fewer -- if any -- Chandlerisms and there are none of those almost silly plot points. But deeper and more important is the change in mood. There is a seriousness to ASHES that just was not there in the Halo books. Where the Halos merely entertained, ASHES really grabbed me.

A couple of questions:

Is the correct title *A* TASTE OF ASHES or *THE* TASTE OF ASHES? I've seen the book referred to in both ways.

What other novels did Browne/Evans write besides the Paul Pine series, THIN AIR and PORK CITY?

Oh, another thing. Since we're running out of monthly themes, and since Charles Williams seems to be popping up as a subject every now and then, what about making July Charles Williams month?

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