Friday, December 9, 2011

Forgotten Stories: "So Dark for April" a Paul Pine story by John Evans

Twenty-odd years ago, when I first read and grokked on the four Paul Pine novels (Halo in Blood*, Halo for Satan and Halo in Brass by John Evans, and The Taste of Ashes by Howard Browne), I didn't know there had also been a short story, published in the February, 1954 issue of Manhunt. When I finally found out, of course, there was only one thing to do. I had to track it down and possess it.

The story appeared five years after the third novel, and since it's one of a kind, I have to wonder what possessed Browne/Evans to write it. Here's a guess . . .

This was only the second issue of Manhunt, and in order to make a splash on newsstands, it's possible the editor, whose name is strangely absent from this issue, requested stories from folks he knew, like Spillane, MacDonald, Deming and Browne. Whatever happened, I'm glad it did, because it's a fine little story, chock full of Browne's brand of similes and metaphors.

I also have to wonder if it was this story that got Browne back in the Pine groove, prompting him to write the fine novel, The Taste of Ashes, published in 1957.

As far as I know, "So Dark For April" has been reprinted twice. First in the Dennis McMillan book The Paper Gun (the title story being an unfinished Paul Pine novel), and then in the Pronzini/Greenburg edited anthology, The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories. For those of you who don't have either of those volumes, or would like to see what it looked like in Manhunt, I offer the following . . .

(click on each page to SUPERSIZE. If it takes you to Blogger's new image-scrolling
format,you may have to right click and select "View Image" before you can enlarge.)











Forgotten Books (and occasionally Stories) is a pattinase presentation.

* My take on Halo in Blood is HERE


Deka Black said...

Thanks for the story. just what i need with the coffee ;)

George said...

Great story! I applaud your obsession in tracking down the MANHUNT with this story in it.

Oscar said...

I like that cover! And the short bios at the end. Nice photo of John Ross Macdonald, tsk, tsk.

Turk said...

Just FYI -

I just read the story in an anthology called "The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction," and I'm glad I did because it lead me to your wonderful site!

Turk said...

Just FYI -

I just read the story in an anthology called "The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction," and I'm glad I did because it lead me to your wonderful site!

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