Good description comes in small packages

A little description that goes a long way is something to admire, both by readers (most of whom appreciate plot above all else) and writers, who wish they were so clever with so few words.

I heard a bit of narrative description like that this morning on National Public Radio when Steve Inskeep interviewed veteran The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, author of the new spy thriller “The Director.” This line alone makes me want to pick up the book:

Into our consulate in Hamburg walks a young Swiss hacker in a dirty shirt with a tattoo on his neck that reads ‘Cut here’ in Russian.

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