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The Taste of Ashes

(Paul Pine #4)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The 4th Paul Pine novel, which many believe is the best of the Pine mysteries.
Paperback
Published September 1st 1988 by Creative Arts Book Co (first published 1957)
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Jim
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Howard Browne (sometimes writing as John Evans, among other pseudonyms) wrote three private eye novels about a Chicago shamus named Paul Pine, all with "halo" in the title. All three books were very good novels. But Browne figured he'd done all he could with the character and dropped it. A few years later he was persuaded to do one more. He considered the result, THE TASTE OF ASHES, to be his best. I agree. It's several steps above the other Pine novels, which were wonderful themselves. This sto ...more
Still
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this.
The writing was delightful and the ending was so unpredictable that it made for a very special read.

I'd read Howard Browne's Halo Of Blood and Halo For Satan when they were originally published in paperback by the Otto Penzler associated Quill Mysterious Classics (1984).
Terrific cover design by Irving Freeman with art by Steve Macanga on these Quill Mysterious Classic editions, by the way.
I remembered enjoying them immensely but I'd never gone back and re-read them. Too man
...more
C. Clark
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rich writing and remarkable characterization. If you love Chandler, or have a taste for noir, this old title is so worth the read. I'm in love with Howard Browne's work (John Evans if you're seeking more Paul Pine novels). Turns of phrase, dialogue particularly, sell me on a mystery, more so than the plotting, and this book was like dessert each night as I wound down my day, curled up and read a few chapters. I took my time with it, as well, wanting the flavor to last. With sticky markers throug ...more
Joseph Hirsch
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The writer Kurt Vonnegut once said the best advice to give was words to the effect of "Stay home!" to anyone contemplating becoming the best in their field (whatever it was). The thinking behind this fatalist gem of wisdom is that no matter how good you think you are at something, there will always be someone better. I say that to say this: I've read more than my fair share of PI/Noir/Detective fiction, though I undoubtedly know less about the genre's seedier byways than some people who read it ...more
Tony
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hardboiled detective novel in the Marlowe manner. At first I didn't like it, thinking it was a High Window ripoff. As I continued, something was happening, something original, that I hadn't seen before. A taste of ashes begins to chalk up your palate about half way thru the book, continuing onward. There is an indescribable sadness at the (I hate the word impotence) impotence of the detective's task, of the useless struggle for truth and then the fact that the truth isn't all it's cracked up to ...more
Jon Sheppard
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of Howard Browne until fairly recently. I encountered his name in a discussion forum about hardboiled detective fiction, a genre I've always enjoyed. Browne was pointed out to me as an early emulator of Raymond Chandler (one of my all-time favorites), so I was curious. Finding copies of his work was a little challenging, but find them I did. His novels about Paul Pine, private eye, are recognizably a bit derivative of Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels, but enjoyable nonetheless. ...more
J Shaskan
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In my opinion, this book is far and away the best PI novel ever written. Browne is often dismissed as a mere imitator of Raymond Chandler, but I think that he actually far excels him: his prose is equally rich, but his stories make a lot more sense, his characters are more vivid, and his dialogue is angrier and more alive. I also think that this novel excels anything by Hammett, and even anything that I've read by more recent PI writers (Collins, Parker, Estleman, Grafton, etc.). I admire these ...more
Angie
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
It might have something to do with the fact that I am a lifelong Chicagoan, in the way that I am sure that factors into my love of Nelson Algren and Studs Terkel, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Paul Pine mysteries! Browne really knew how to turn a noir phrase, and Pine's just such a loveable character. He's a hardened PI with just enough soft heart underneath.
Eric
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was great. I paid 20.00 at ebay half.com for a pristine 1st edition paperback from 1988 with an inscription from Mr. Browne to the late Mr. Bill Deeck. I will cherish it always. RIP Mr. Deeck.
Tom Warner
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Glenn Richard
ranks right up there with chandler...what an amazing book...should be much, much better known...
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Howard Browne (April 15, 1908–October 28, 1999) was a science fiction editor and mystery writer. He also wrote for several television series and films. Some of his work appeared over the pseudonyms John Evans, Alexander Blade, Lawrence Chandler, Ivar Jorgensen, and Lee Francis.

Beginning in 1942, Browne worked as managing editor for Ziff-Davis publications on Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventure
...more

Other books in the series

Paul Pine (4 books)
  • Halo in Blood
  • Halo for Satan
  • Halo in Brass (Paul Pine, #3)

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