RARA-AVIS: Halo In Brass

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 02 Aug 2004

Finished this one a couple days ago. It's my first book by Evans. It's about a private detective based in Chicago searching for a missing girl from Kansas. Paul Pine is knocked out a couple times, is first on the scene at more than one murder, is framed for murder, sucks face with the chicks and spars with the cops . In spite of cliches that were well-worn even in 1949 when the book came out, Evans's writing is sharp and moving and well worth reading.

The book follows a wayward daughter theme that has well-served the best of them, including Hammett in THE DAIN CURSE and Chandler in THE BIG SLEEP. Although Evans avoids the bathetic extremes of Chandler, he follows Jim's Marlowe Paradigm perfectly. He's a former law officer, he works in a big American city, he is a single male, self-employed detective, telling his story in first person. There was one scene where he gets stinking drunk with someone's wife and plays kissy face that reminded me a lot of a similar Chandler scene.

I did have one other complaint about the book. Halfway through the book I got the feeling that it was rolling towards a particular ending, but I shrugged it off because I thought it unbelievably corny. That was the ending.

I bought this book up in Chicago on a used book store tour that Mark Blumenthal took me on. A great time and some great books. Hope you're still on the list, Mark.


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