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 clichs 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.