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Ellipsis: A John Marshall Tanner Novel [Hardcover]

Stephen Greenleaf
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2000 John Marshall Tanner Mysteries

Bodyguard to a glamorous, bestselling novelist?

It's the last kind of case that San Francisco private investigator John Marshall Tanner would normally accept. But Chandelier Wells comes with a personal referral Tanner cannot refuse.

For all her money and fame, Chandelier is scared. Someone is sending anonymous notes: If you don't stop, you will die! Stop what? She says she doesn't know, and she has no time to find out before beginning the publicity tour for her new book, Shaloon.

Chandelier writes romantic suspense, but she takes on tough issues. Shaloon attacks the cosmetics industry, and next year's book, just finished in manuscript, dissects the luxury cruise business. Could the research for her books have made her the kind of enemies who would wish her bodily harm?

Tanner's inclined to think that the lady might exaggerate her peril, but when a car bomb explodes, leaving one person dead and another gravely injured, Tanner regrets he didn't take Chandelier's fears more seriously. She has annoyed many people over the years, but who would want her dead? As Tanner begins to probe Chandelier's background, he discovers many potential suspects, including her ex-husband, a spurned lover, and a jealous writer who accuses Chandelier of plagiarism. Is one of them behind the car bomb, or is the answer even more complex and frightening?

Drawn into the bizarre life of a superstar author and an investigation that threatens to go full circle and bring back demons from Tanner's past, Tanner must also deal with his own grief for a departed friend and his developing love for a very special assistant district attorney. His life is at a turning point. The future is vast and vitalizing. The present is poignant.

Recently nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, mystery writing's highest honor, author Stephen Greenleaf with Ellipsis adds another mesmerizing chapter to one of the most intoxicatingly powerful series in all of crime fiction.

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Product Description

From Amazon

This is the 16th outing for Stephen Greenleaf's series hero, San Francisco PI John Marshall Tanner (Past Tense, Strawberry Sunday). In Ellipsis, Tanner signs on as bodyguard to a bestselling romance novelist. Chandelier Wells's connections to people Tanner loves persuade him to temper his dislike and protect her from the death threats she's been receiving as she prepares to embark on a book tour. At first Tanner doesn't take the threats very seriously; he's halfway convinced they're just a publicity stunt. But when a car bomb kills a former FBI agent who's been moonlighting as Wells's driver, Tanner gets serious in a hurry.

Suspects aren't in short supply; it seems that Wells has as many enemies as readers. Is the perp a deranged fan, a fellow writer who swears Chandelier plagiarized her work, a real estate mogul she dumped in an act of public humiliation, or an ex-husband who believes he's entitled to a share of her wealth? With Tanner on the case, the chase is on, in a smartly paced story that gives the reader a deeper look into Tanner's emotional complexities and capacities. Greenleaf is a master plotter, and Tanner gets more interesting with every adventure. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

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)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Tired, mechanical, and unconvincing Sept. 8 2001
I used to love Stephen Greenleaf's John Marshall Tanner mysteries, but ELLIPSIS was tired, mechanical, and unconvincing. It reminded me of the reasons why Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels ran out of steam. For one thing, there is too much midlife crisis angst on the part of Tanner, too much relationship trouble between him and his girlfriend. For another, there are two different women of mature years who are raunchy and amusing and make Tanner blush -- one is plausible, two are excessive. For a third, the plot is warmed-over. I was reminded of Parker's LOOKING FOR RACHEL WALLACE. Again the p.i. bodyguards a major female celebrity writer. Of course, in the Parker book the writer was lesbian; here she's straight and a romance novelist. A promising plot development -- allegations of plagiarism -- goes nowhere. Another plot line, a carryover from a previous book in the series, becomes increasingly significant, but if you haven't read the previous book you'll be frustrated and put off by the too-neat tying together of disparate plot lines. Finally, the ending of the Tanner character study in this book depends on a "deus-ex-machina" ending that had me throwing the book across the room.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Greenleaf Delivers in Elipsis July 10 2000
John Marshall Tanner is back as the reluctant bodyguard to a driven sucessful novelist whose life has been threatened. Stephen Greenleaf lays bare today's literary world with a parade of suspects ranging from the jilted ex-husband to the soon to be fired agent, and the cross-dressing devoted fan obsessed with Chandelier Wells. But as always with Greenleaf what appears to be a simple mystery is actually a very complex character study. Tanner is still struggling from the death of his best friend Charley Sleet, commitment issues with his new love interest Jill Coppelia, and a daughter from an earlier indiscretion. An honorable and principled though somewhat rusted white knight with an Oreo addiction Tanner continues to do battle in in an unscrupulous world. After twenty years he's come to realize that "other people's problems, particularly those brought brought on by stupidity or self-indulgence, which in my experience is most of them, seem to provoke my ire more than my sympathy these days." John Marshall Tanner may decide to retire with Elipsis. If so it will be a loss to the literary world equal to John D.MacDonald's Travis McGee. Greenleaf has expertly written a wonderful tribute to a dying breed. It will prove satisfying to even the most devoted Tanner fans. Thanks for everything, Stephen Greenleaf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Greenleaf's best yet! July 9 2000
I enjoy Greenleaf's work for his plots and characters, and Ellipsis displays Greenleaf at his best. The focus character, Marsh Tanner, is approaching his 50th birthday, and the book shows Tanner taking stock of his life, finances, interests and career. The life of a P.I. may be interesting, but it is a poor career choice, and Tanner knows it. Tanner finds himself the reluctant bodyguard for a famous and successful writer, and the book is full of shop-talk about writers and the business of writing. Part of the fun is seeing how the frustration of the writing biz is perceived by a character all too aware of the frustrations of the PI biz. Yet once again, through asking questions, following up leads, and getting people to talk, it is revealed that the reluctant Tanner has the skillset needed to unravel the mystery of the threats and attacks on his client. Greenleaf addresses some of the threads and characters which came up in earlier books, which gives this book a very satisfying sense of resolution.
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After the death of his police officer friend two years ago, Bay area private investigator John Marshall Tanner is dating Assistant District Attorney Jill Cappanella. He also seeks cases to pay off his bills. Best selling and wealthy author Chandelier Wells is receiving threatening letters stating "If you don't stop it you will die." Chandelier may not know what the letters want halted, but she takes the warning seriously and hires Marsh to act as her bodyguard.

Initially, Marsh thinks the person terrorizing the author is a diehard lunatic of a fan, trying to get a rise out of Chandelier. He changes his mind when a bomb explodes in her car killing two people and injuring Chandelier. The MO seems like that of a pro. Marsh suspects someone close or formerly close to the writer as hired a hit man. As he steps closer to the truth, Marsh places himself and his loved ones in life threatening danger.

John Marshall Tanner is an extremely likable sleuth who at fifty remains vulnerable and compassionate, making him very appealing especially to women. ELLIPSIS is a fast paced but intricate work whose villains are shockers yet realistic. Stephen Greenleaf humanizes all of his characters within a fabulous tale that shows why his Tanner books have been award winners.

Harriet Klausner
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