"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
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. The organ
donor is none other than Taylor Greene, a fact that binds Dane to
the people in Taylor's troubled life, and to their ambitions. Dane
soon finds himself up to his neck in dirty dealings and familial
dysfunction, compelled to learn the truth behind Taylor's death by
vision that is restored by far more than a surgical
Boston Teran has a special knack for the down-and-dirty, fueled
apparently by his real life. In notes on his website, he describes
the inspiration for various elements of the three books he has
published to date, much of it drawn from a childhood of the sort
that in different hands would find its expression in fifty minute
installments on a therapist's couch.
But if life has indeed dealt Boston Teran a lousy hand, he has
played it masterfully, and split the pot with his lucky readers.
His characters are possessed of the kind of street-level realism
that is the hallmark of well-written crime fiction, and his story
lines tangle and weave the various personalities in juxtapositions
that drive the narrative on a combustible mixture of foreboding,
dread, and inevitability. THE PRINCE OF DEADLY WEAPONS, like Boston
Teran's previous work, is a twisted pleasure to read. When you can
put it down, you're happy to shut all that nasty
business between the covers.
Reviewed by Bob Rhubart on January 22, 2011