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The Prince of Deadly Weapons: A Novel Hardcover – November 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

Taking his title from author Owen Wister's description of the eye of man as "the prince of deadly weapons," Boston Teran spins out a forceful yet surprisingly unsatisfying yarn in which what you see is almost never what you get.

While still wracked with guilt over the supposed suicide of his only son, Taylor, wealthy Sacramento Delta developer Nathan Greene meets Dane Rudd, a young man who'd lost his vision in a subway attack years ago and only regained it through the posthumous transplanting of Taylor's corneas. Nathan is now putting together a research center in his son's name, and he needs Rudd as his guileless pitchman, "the miracle of modern science he'll troop out to fund-raisers." But the enigmatic Rudd has his own agenda, which could lay Nathan--as well as an avaricious banker; a randy, paraplegic district attorney with political ambitions; and a pair of brutish sibling pilots--open to charges in a conspiracy that involves money laundering, missing diamonds, and murder.

Although the pseudonymous Teran gets off a clever line here and there (he describes a comely woman as having "legs that went all the way from the ground up and into a man's psyche"), the prose in The Prince of Deadly Weapons is a flabby version of what drew readers to his previous works, God Is a Bullet and Never Count Out the Dead. Equally discouraging, this story's characters never rise above the one-dimensionality of concept, and its plot twists are less accomplished than they are confounding. Despite some fast-pitch episodes of cinematic drama (Rudd's last-minute escape from an onrushing train, exploding boats in the denouement), The Prince of Deadly Weapons lacks the lethal edge that fans have come to expect from this author. --J. Kingston Pierce

From Publishers Weekly

After soaring high with his first two thrillers, God Is a Bullet and Never Count Out the Dead, Teran crashes and burns with his third, an archly overwritten and confusing book, which also wastes a promising, relatively fresh locale California's Sacramento Delta. The first problem is the writing: although there are a few early flashes of the originality that made Teran's first two novels so exciting, these very quickly degrade into sloppy poetry: "Nathan was hungry for some ultimate legacy, something that would carry past the wakes of his life. But he also knew there is, in each of us, a place where resides an eternal antagonist who remains untouched by any virtue." Then there are the characters, a grotesque gallery of genre clich‚s with few humanizing touches. For reasons never made entirely clear, the hero a young man who calls himself Dane Rudd is claimed as a lost son by several people, including an ex-con pilot who decorates the walls of the bar he runs with sketches from the Greek myth of the Minotaur in the labyrinth (perhaps a plug for the publisher?). But most damaging is the plot, a serpentine and finally unconvincing exercise, which has Rudd supposedly blinded early on in a subway attack, but even this is left in doubt at the end investigating the death of the man whose corneas he inherited by infiltrating a gang of smugglers and killers whose nastiness is exceeded only by their ineptitude. All this adds up to a misfire from which the reclusive, supposedly pseudonymous author will hopefully recover.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312271182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312271183
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,469,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J Macdonald on December 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Though not quite as good as his previous two books, THE PRICE OF DEADLY WEAPONS is one of the better crime fiction books of the year. The intersecting cast of characters can get confusing, but the payoff is worth the trip. It seems that Boston Teran is trying something new here but is staying within the "world" that we have come to expect from him. I would recommend reading his previous books in order (God is a Bullet & Never Count out the Dead) before taking on this one -- you'll see why. Boston Teran is someone to watch and read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on January 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Boston Teran's third novel, "The Prince of Deadly Weapons", is a complex and at times confusing tale of redemption and revenge. Six months following the assumed suicide of Taylor Greene, the son of a wealthy developer, an enigmatic Dane Rudd shows up to attend a memorial service for Greene. Taylor Greene was an organ donor, and Rudd, as it turns out, is the recipient of Taylor's corneas. The mysterious Rudd sticks around, endearing himself to the dead boy's father, and entangling himself in an unofficial investigation of Greene's death.
Unlike the parched and barren southern California wasteland in which Teran set his first two blockbuster mystery-thrillers ("God is a Bullet" and Never Count Out the Dead"), "Deadly Weapons" is set in the more-lush, but none-the-less barren, California Sacramento River delta. The delta is an overlooked region of the west, full of contradictions and extremes - a land virtually lost in time within the shadow of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Teran is true to his literary accolades in painting a vivid picture of the people and geography of the delta. But unlike the his first two efforts, in which the brutality of the characters, deeds, and settings literally grab the reader by the throat refusing to let go, "Deadly Weapons" tends to meander into too much a somber study of lost lives and missed opportunities. One can't help feeling that Teran tried to hard to make this novel "important", and in the process blunted the edge of what should have been another creative, dark, and compelling tale.
All things considered, though, this is a book worth reading. Teran still demonstrates a unique literary talent, spinning the most simple phase or event in an engaging cross between prose and poetry. Despite its shortcomings, Boston Teran can write, and I'll look forward to his next installment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Write what you know" is not a bad bit of advice for a writer, especially if what you know is that particular neighborhood in the great metropolis of the human psyche through which sweetness and light pass only after making a wrong turn, and then only with the windows rolled up, the doors locked, 911 on the cell phone speed dial, and one thumb poised on the send button.
After reading Boston Teran's work, I'd lay odds that he keeps a pied-a-terre in that very same neighborhood, a place he can drop in on when life gets too cheery. Fans of noir fiction should take no small amount of pleasure in the knowledge that Teran has found a room with such a deliciously disturbing view.
Boston Teran's latest, THE PRINCE OF DEADLY WEAPONS, delivers the award-winning author's trademark cast of finely drawn, deeply flawed characters, murky morality, and flat-out nasty violence, all presented at a carefully metered pace that maintains just the right anxious buzz from first page to last.
THE PRINCE OF DEADLY WEAPONS is at its core an exploration of deception, served up in a cornucopia of flavors, each with its own particular motivation, and each with its own unique toll. Whether the motivation is greed, lust, love, truth, or redemption, there is a price to be paid, and there's no running out on the bill.
In the story, a federal agent is brutally murdered in a cheap roadside motel while waiting for a meeting with Taylor Greene, the son of Nathan, a wealthy California businessman whose extracurricular activities have drawn the attention of the Feds. Days later, Taylor dies in an apparent suicide. On the eve of a memorial service for Taylor, Dane Rudd arrives, a mysterious and charismatic young man with a remarkable story: corneal transplants have restored eyesight lost in a viscous random assault.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Boston Teran. "God is a Bullet" is a killer first novel, and 'Prince' is a very worthy follow-up. It doesn't have the same driving, horror-genre intensity as "Bullet," (which is the only first novel besides Harry Shannon's wild, reckless horror offering 'Night of the Beast' to have the insanity of 'pulp fiction' this year) but shows Teran maturing as an author. Very much worth your while.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Taylor Greene is The California golden boy as heir to a huge fortune, but he is not tainted by the power money can buy. He loves and is loved by his parents and his godparents until the mask of perfection melts away on the day he learns his parents and godparents are money launderers and murderers. Taylor sets up a meeting with William Reynolds, an agent of the Federal Government, but before that meeting can come to pass the Fed is murdered and two weeks later Taylor is dead as well.
Dane Rudd, the recipient of Taylor's corneas comes to Rio Vista, California ostensibly to thank Taylor's parents for giving him the gift of sight. In reality Dane has infiltrated Taylor's intimate circle in the hopes of finding out what Taylor was going to tell the dead agent. He has the help of Essie, the woman Taylor loved and ultimately died for, but the investigation he started to stay out of jail becomes a chance for redemption for Dane because until he came to Rio Vista he was no better than the Greenes were.
Boston Teran has a lyrical and literary style of writing so readers feel that they are reading a poetic ballad. Although Taylor only has one scene in the book, he makes an impact on every character through their actions and reaction to his death. The author has captured the essence of evil and imbued several of his characters with it, making them monsters as malignant as Hannibal Lechter ever was. This is a very powerful novel that impacts the reader strongly on the emotional level.
Harriet Klausner
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