cover image Electric Evil: A John Marshall Tanner Novel

Electric Evil: A John Marshall Tanner Novel

Stephen Greenleaf. Scribner Book Company, $21.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-81583-1

Loneliness-how some manage it and how others are perverted by it-governs this assured 10th outing for San Francisco PI John Marshall Tanner, seen recently in Southern Cross. Tanner hurries to Seattle after an urgent call from his onetime lover, Peggy Nettleton, whose planned marriage to wealthy businessman Ted Evans is in jeopardy because Evans's daughter, Nina, a photographers' model, has vanished. Greenleaf alternates between Tanner's classically noir first-person narrative and the third-person account of Nina's plunge into the converging worlds of erotic art, pornography and virtual reality. Someone in Seattle is using digitally manipulated images to turn unsuspecting people into pornography subjects. When a photographer who abused Nina's trust turns up dead, Tanner's search takes on new urgency and leads to a dangerously warped and misogynist mogul. In Greenleaf's plausible high-tech exploitation scenario, Nina's danger becomes palpable. So is the worldly 50-ish detective's desire to help Peggy and perhaps rekindle their romance as his ruminations on the power of money, sex and security give rich character to an absorbing tale. (Feb.)