Howard Doshen is a character in the Briarverse. He was Martin Rank’s mentor and supervising editor at The New York Times.
In Volume One of The Monarch Papers, Martin tells the story of how he ambushed Howard in the middle of a cigarette break one day when Martin was still in high school and Howard was just a young reporter. Howard took a chance on Marty, helping him publish his first article about corruption in his school at sixteen. Howard hired Martin after he graduated from NYU, and the two continued to work together until Martin’s alcoholism cost him his job in 1988.
Martin attempted to contact Howard again during the events of The Monarch Papers. The two went to lunch, where Martin attempted to explain what was happening with Brandon Lachmann, the Mountaineers, and Kemetic Solutions. He spoke in a frenzied state and became angry when Howard grew concerned that Martin’s obsession with these “conspiracy theories” were coming from his drinking.
When Aether posted the Low Report to YouTube, it contained a series of clues to where a message for Martin was hidden in the Guide to Magiq. The message was a deleted email to Martin from Howard, where Howard explained that he cared for Martin like a brother, believed in him, and wanted to see him successful, but that he was concerned that Martin’s apparent deep-dive into the conspiracies about the world being “richer, deeper, more resonant than it is” were only going to lead him down the wrong path.
Howard is a kind-hearted person, willing to take a chance on a spirited young reporter. He cares deeply for Martin’s well-being and repeatedly made decisions based on what he believed was best for Martin, like pulling Martin off of the more hard-hitting stories when he became overwhelmed by the Brandon Lachmann case. It pained him to have to fire him, as he said he “felt like [he] lost a family member when [Martin] walked away from the paper.” Despite not believing in Martin’s stories about Brandon Lachmann and the truth about the world, he still wished Martin success and asked Martin to call him, keeping the line of communication open.