Boston Teran, Author . St. Martin's/Minotaur $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-312-27118-3

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 clichés 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. Agent, David Hale Smith, DHS Literary. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 371 pages - 978-0-330-48555-5
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