Death Bed by Stephen Greenleaf | LibraryThing:
I'd swear sometimes reading Greenleaf that I was actually reading Ross MacDonald (a high compliment.) Paragraphs like: "She inclined her chin toward a chair that was camouflaged by a blue damask spread that lay over it like a shroud. I sat on it anyway and watched Mrs. Covington. Her skin was dappled from circulatory sloth. Bands of black cupped her eyes like nests. Her lips were dry and cracked. Lines of gray stretched through her hair like vapor trails. She was unlovely and knew it.." The phrase "dappled from circulatory sloth," is just so perfect at conveying an image and information.
Here's another, "The floor made crackling noises beneath my feet, the cry of shrinking souls. I edged onto a stool. For the next five minutes the only sound I heard was the white noise of despair, made up of a lot of other people’s tones and a few of my own."
There are few writers out there today that can equal those kinds of images. The plot fades into the background. It's nothing special. Thanner is hired to first find the son of a dying rich man. Then the case morphs into a search for Mark Covington, a paranoid reporter who has disappeared and who might have been working on a corruption story. There are kidnappings, ostensible kidnappings, m/f lust, old family secrets, etc. But it's the language that makes Greenleaf shine.
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