Just finished my first Howard Browne novel, "Thin Air." I'd
wanted to start with the Paul Pine books, but couldn't find
any I could afford, and stumbled across this one. It's not a
P.I. book, but more in the tradition of
"civilian" investigations, wherein an otherwise non-investigatory type digs up (or tries to dig up) the truth about a crime. In this case, it's an advertising executive whose wife walks in the front door of their house and keeps going right out the back door and vanishes. He becomes a suspect in her disappearance, of course, and decides to use the power of his advertising company to draw the public into his own investigation.
I found Browne's writing pleasant and accessible without
being either coy or particularly thrilling. I did not really
buy into the central notion of putting a large corporation's
efforts almost solely into looking for a guy's wife, but as
it was the central notion, it had to be dealt with. But I
found it sort of beside the point. It made the central
character's job of investigation much easier, but not in such
a way as to create really unique events. So it seemed more of
a gimmick than anything else. Nonetheless, it was a fun,
quick read. I still plan to read some of the other Browne's,
due to the praise he's received here, but "Thin Air" was not,
in itself, something to cause me to rush out in search of
anything the author had written.
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