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Title: The Next One Will Kill You
Author: Neil S. Plakcy
Publisher: *Not Listed
Cover Artist: Unknown
Release Date: 11/15/2016
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.
The Line Between Romance and Mystery
The line between romance and mystery
As both a reader and a writer, I move back and forth between mystery and romance—and most of my books have elements of both. When I began to write The Next One Will Kill You, I didn’t have a clear idea of which way the book was going to lean, and that caused me some problems.
The first indication that there was some trouble came in the rejection letter I got from Randall Klein, a wonderful editor who eventually picked up the book for Diversion Books in New York.
“There are plenty of mysteries and suspense novels where a character is openly gay, but while the straight protagonist has a three-page sex scene, the gay cop / agent has a steady, if chaste, relationship, or might get a cutaway kiss. I love that, instead, you let Angus be a complete character. However, there are points, and they become legion, when his sexuality overwhelms his main characteristic that he’s an FBI agent, and that makes me as the mystery / suspense reader take him less seriously.”
His point was that I had to decide whether the book would lean toward mystery or toward romance. So what was it to be? Well, I attended the FBI Citizen’s Academy, an eight-week program to introduce members of the community to the Bureau’s programs. Then I spent hours on research on illegal drugs and Medicare fraud, the issues at the core of the book.
As a reader, I expect that an M/M romance will focus on the developing relationship between the heroes, with an interesting background. On the other hand, in a mystery or a thriller, the plot comes first—how will the detective solve the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice?
It was clear to me that I wanted The Next One to focus on newly minted Angus Green’s development as an FBI agent, so that meant that I had to downplay some of the romance elements in order to focus on the crime. The book begins with Angus thrust into the middle of an investigation of the disappearance of a caller to the Bureau’s tip line. And while he does meet a great guy and go on a couple of dates, he’s got to stay focused on finding that missing man and figuring out the details of the tip he provided.
That meant sacrificing some of the fun scenes I’d written between Angus and his new boyfriend, bar bouncer Lester. But their relationship was important to me and I had to make sure that it stayed. Lester’s a big, muscular guy—an awful lot like Liam McCullough in my Have Body, Will Guard series. But he’s not an equal in the book, the way Liam is in his adventures with his partner Aidan Greene. Lester’s primary role is the way that he makes Angus feel, like he can stop being a law enforcement officer when he’s in Lester’s arms. That he feels protected there, and cared for.
There’s more of Lester to come in future books. I was lucky enough to sign a three-book contract with Diversion Books, so I have the chance to continue to explore Angus’s relationship with Lester, providing a romantic arc to the series—one that I hope doesn’t overwhelm the mystery/thriller plot, but instead supports it and gives more insight into Angus as a human being, a gay man, and a Federal agent.
About the Author
About Neil S. Plakcy:
Neil Plakcy is the author of the Mahu Investigations, mysteries which take place in Hawaii. They are: Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, Mahu Vice, Mahu Blood, Mahu Men, Zero Break, Natural Predators and Children of Noah.
His M/M romance novels are GayLife.com, Mi Amor, Love on Site, Love on the Web, Love on Stage, Love on the Pitch, and the Have Body, Will Guard series: Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, Dancing with the Tide, Teach Me Tonight, Olives for the Stranger, The Noblest Vengeance and Finding Freddie Venus.
He has also written the golden retriever mysteries In Dog We Trust, The Kingdom of Dog, Dog Helps Those, Dog Bless You, Whom Dog Hath Joined and Dog Have Mercy.
He is co-editor of Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog (Alyson Books, 2006) and editor of many gay erotica anthologies. A journalist, book reviewer and college professor, he is also a frequent contributor to gay anthologies.
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