Neil S. Plakcy’s second Angus Green novel, Nobody Rides For Free, continues the story of the gay FBI agent readers first met in last year’s The Next One Will Kill You. As with that previous novel, the procedural elements here take precedence.
Assigned a desk job as he recovers from injuries sustained during his previous case, Angus Green still manages to find himself embroiled in a complex case with multiple components. What starts out as a topical case involving tainted drugs (which turn the users into angry, zombie-like attackers) eventually leads to an underage porn ring victimizing vulnerable gay teens.
Plakcy excels at documenting the slower process of investigations of this sort. One suspects that this is much closer to reality than the shootouts and chases most often seen in television depictions of FBI activity. Because of this, Nobody Rides For Free may seem like a slower read than most – and in many ways, it is – but that doesn’t give enough credit to how the author is able to connect the various strands of this inquiry into a fascinating procedural.
None of this would matter if readers were not invested in Angus Green as a character, however. Fortunately, he is easy to root for. Throughout these two books, readers watch as Angus matures – in both his work and personal life. Since these books are billed as thrillers, those personal elements take the necessary backseat, but those interactions, when they occur, are still very sweet.
The complex case at the core of the novel feels as timely as ever. Both the drug elements and the victimization of LGBTQ+ youth accurately reflect contemporary news coverage in depressing ways; but somehow, Neil Plakcy keeps Nobody Rides For Free from becoming too disheartening an experience.
Fans are eager for more developments on the romantic front for Angus, so I suspect readers will see that intertwined with the next case in some clever way. There are still far too few LGBTQ+ thriller leads in the crime genre, so Angus Green is a character that needs to stick around – along with his creator, Neil S. Plakcy.
Disclaimer: A copy of this title were provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.