By Bob Cannon
Updated April 11, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Retired Army captain Dutch Flowers is a disgraced Gulf War hero hired to investigate a murder in a secret science facility. The catch is that the victim — and the presumed murderer — are both genetically altered chimps gone haywire. Pryor’s debut novel weaves a preop transsexual assassin, a plot to kill Saddam Hussein, and those half-human apes into a woolly tale of sci-fi weirdness and postwar paranoia. While the story has no trouble holding your interest, Pryor gums up the works by trying too hard to pull in left-field allusions like this one: ”The bottle of 101-proof Wild Turkey…was empty but for the sacramental vapors lingering inside of it like a tapped-out genie.” What hath Vonnegut wrought?