Title: The Next One Will Kill You: An Angus Green Novel
Author: Neil S. Plakcy
Publisher: Diversion Books
Length: 268 Pages
At a Glance: The first book in a semi silly/semi thrilling mystery series with Angus Green, our favorite rookie gay FBI agent.
Reviewed By: Ben
Blurb: If Angus Green is going to make it to a second case, he’s needs to survive the first one.
Angus wants more adventure than a boring accounting job, so after graduating with his master’s degree he signs up with the FBI. He’s assigned to the Miami field office, where the caseload includes smugglers, drug runners, and gangs, but he starts out stuck behind a desk, an accountant with a badge and gun.
Struggling to raise money for his little brother’s college tuition, he enters a strip trivia contest at a local bar. But when he’s caught with his pants down by a couple of fellow agents, he worries that his extracurricular activities and his status as the only openly gay agent will crash his career. Instead, to his surprise, he’s added to an anti-terrorism task force and directed to find a missing informant.
It’s his first real case: a desperate chase to catch a gang of criminals with their tentacles in everything from medical fraud to drugs to jewel theft. With every corner in this case—from Fort Lauderdale’s gay bars to the morgue—turning to mayhem, Angus quickly learns that the only way to face a challenge is to assume that he’ll survive this one—it’s the next one that will kill him.
Review: This mystery was fun and light on the thrills but still serious enough to entertain someone like me, a lover of noir and other hardboiled detective series. Our protagonist, Angus Green, is a plucky accountant for the FBI who gets his first real case offered to him after a gay bar trivia contest—where he ends up in his skivvies, puking drunk. Maybe he wasn’t exactly interview material, but he certainly left an impression. There’s something to be said about being in the right place at the right time.
Agent Green understands he’s being used for his insider knowledge and connections—an informant has gone missing from the local gay community, and fellow agents can’t get a word out of anyone. His job is to ingratiate himself with those suspected of involvement, and lead the more experienced agents to the trail. However, this is his first case, and Green isn’t about to do anything half-assed. With his strong work ethic and a certain flair for the dramatic, he cracks the case wide open. What started out as a simple missing person case quickly finds him in over his head.
Despite his naivety, Green was a fairly stable protagonist. He has a steady job, a good relationship with his brother (who I’m guessing we’ll see more of in the later books), and though he has a wild side, his ethics are sound. It’s the people around Green who create most of his drama. His brother is in the middle of being investigated for theft, the gay club he’s frequented for years is teaming with people of dubious morals, and his bright red hair and good looks make him a magnet for love trouble. He meets an alluring man during his investigation, but we don’t get to spend much time with him—right when things warm up in bed, Green’s case gets hot.
Not only is he green in his work, but despite his endearing qualities, Agent Green clearly has a bit of growing up to do. Plakcy exposes us to the very real ageism in gay culture. In the beginning, Green’s attitudes concerning older gay men seem to be those of his peers—in that most of them believe older gay men are to be tolerated at best, but his views shift. During his investigation he befriends an older gay man and the two form a unique partnership. I respected how, in the short span of a novel, Green experiences a subtle but significant change in his outlook, and that leads him to ultimately getting what he wants out of life, which is the sensation of competence in his craft. He has potential.
This series also has potential. The first novel admittedly felt as if it were introducing the major players while providing us with an entertaining plot, but it sort of neglected a more in depth feel of any of the characters. I’m looking forward to digging into them in the future works.
You can buy The Next One Will Kill You here: