Neil S. Plakcy’s The Next One Will Kill You is best described as exhilarating, escapist entertainment. The novel’s exciting and fun nature generates from the fact that it never takes itself too seriously and the fact that Plakcy manages to avoid allowing the players to sink to stereotypical caricatures is a testament to his faith in the original concept.

The Next One Will Kill You is an intrigue-based thriller set in Miami Beach featuring an out, gay FBI agent. When Angus Green’s colleagues discover him taking part in a strip contest at the local gay bar, Angus is sure that his career is kaput, and yet his straight co-workers are only interested in making him part of the team on this current investigation – after all, he will have access to some of the key players that they would otherwise have no hope of gaining trust from.

The case in question involves a missing informant who was scheduled to provide some much needed intel on an active investigation. As Angus becomes more entwined in the workings of the case, he discovers possible ties to a major jewelry heist, terrorist activity, and of course, murder.

Neil S. Plakcy works in some interesting research on FBI tactics and procedures into his plot. Readers will learn about legal search methods and interviewing skills such as the elicitation technique used by agents in the field. Even if readers are already familiar with these concepts, they will understand how a rookie agent needs to hone these skills while working his first big case.

Meanwhile, Plakcy also gives Angus an interesting personal life. Angus is a stand-up guy trying to keep his younger brother on the right path, navigate the pitfalls of having a somewhat platonic relationship with a gay roommate, and explore his own romantic desires in what little free time a special agent for the FBI is allotted during a sensitive operation.

The novel features several action-packed sequences and some laugh-out-loud situations. At any moment, Plakcy could have fallen victim to resorting to stereotypical plotting – who wouldn’t expect at least one of the straight agents to have an issue with Angus’s sexuality – and yet, at every turn he takes a fresh detour. It makes for a refreshing read.

The Next One Will Kill You is the first in a new series, so some groundwork is laid for future installments. Angus’ relationships – both romantic and beyond – are just in their formative stages and certainly there are plenty of opportunities for FBI-involved investigations within the Miami Beach location. Hopefully Neil S. Plakcy will keep infusing the thriller genre with fresh and unexpected ideas for several more books – Angus’ evolution is going to be fascinating to watch.


Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.