Protecting autocratic blockbuster author Chandelier Wells from threatening letters is a job so simple San Francisco shamus John Marshall Tanner can practically phone it in—until she leaves a book signing and steps into a limo that promptly explodes, killing her ex-FBI driver and landing her in intensive care. There's no shortage of suspects, including the pushy agent she was about to discard, a disgruntled suitor she humiliated, an ex-husband who still loved her money, an obsessed fan, and a writing student who insisted Chandelier stole her ideas. But a visit from a member of the Association of Retired FBI Agents (ARFA) has Marsh looking in other directions and thinking of other cases, particularly the one in which he was manipulated into killing his best friend, an avenging cop named Charley Sleet (Past Tense, 1997; Strawberry Sunday, 1999). A tip Marsh passes his lover Jill, an assistant district attorney trying for grand jury indictments in the Sleet case, leads to another murder, a guilt pile-up for Marsh, and a link to Chandelier's woes, all of which will be sorted out in a don't-blink-first confrontation in the police impound lot.
The publishing tidbits are routine, but Greenleaf hits his stride when the rogue cops surface. More worrisome: the prospect that an inheritance windfall, love, and remorse might portend a career change for the durable, likable Marsh.