cover image Blood Type: The New John Marshall Tanner Mystery

Blood Type: The New John Marshall Tanner Mystery

Stephen Greenleaf. William Morrow & Company, $20 (283pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11268-4

Greenleaf ( Book Case ) packs a wallop in this 10th John Marshall Tanner mystery, which brings the lawyer turned investigator to San Francisco's Tenderloin district for a gritty, chilling series of events. Tanner's drinking buddy, dour Tom Crandall, is found dead, apparently of a self-administered drug overdose. But Tanner, who knew that Tom's marriage to torch singer Clarissa Duncan was crumbling, believes his friend was murdered. His suspicions fall on Clarissa's new beau, multimillionaire entrepreneur Richard Sands. Tanner thinks that Tom's mentally disturbed brother Nick might know why the dead man, in his last message, accused Sands of being ``evil incarnate.'' Searching for Nick in the Tenderloin, Tanner gets involved with a blood hustler named Dracula, who convinces the area's inhabitants that they have liquid gold in their veins. How Tanner figures out who killed Tom and why comes as an anticlimax, after he eliminates one suspect in a grisly game of chicken involving the threatened intravenous administration of tainted blood. Centering on plasma centers, blood banks, HIV, AIDS and donors in the inner city, this isn't a story for the squeamish. (Sept.)