cover image Ellipsis: A John Marshall Tanner Novel

Ellipsis: A John Marshall Tanner Novel

Stephen Greenleaf. Scribner Book Company, $24 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-684-84955-3

Still smarting from having been forced to shoot dead his best friend and rogue cop, Charley Sleet, in 1997's Past Tense, San Francisco PI John Marshall Tanner must protect a famous novelist in this high octane addition to a justly acclaimed sleuthing series. Imperious megaseller Chandelier Wells is at the receiving end of death threats. Naturally, her tempestuous lifestyle comes with the usual detritus: an embittered ex-husband who claims she owes him everything, a demented fan decked out in costumes taken from the author's pages, an insecure agent about to be left in the dust and a hapless unpublished author shouting accusations of plagiarism. Wells is mythically unpleasant, so Tanner takes a decidedly laid-back view of this gig, until a car bomb kills the author's driver, a former FBI agent. The subplots include Tanner's approaching 50th birthday, his elderly neighbor's attempts to cash in on a magazine's lofty sweepstakes claim and his romance with an assistant DA that seems to require selling out sources as tokens of affection. The solution is light by Greenleaf's usual high standards, but the plot has an irresistible momentum, and Tanner's emotional evolution continues to fascinate. Then there's the moment when a trio of publishing women eagerly watches as Tanner enters a restaurant. As Greenleaf puts it, ""The three of them looked up expectantly, as if I were bringing an advance copy of Publishers Weekly."" (July)