3.75 stars rounded up
Neil Plakcy's Mahu is one of mystery series with gay detective that I follow religiously. When I found out that Plakcy wrote what looked like to be the first of another series, I immediately requested the ARC over at Netgalley.
Well, I really enjoyed this.
First of all, The Next One Will Kill You definitely falls into mystery/procedural book. It features Angus Green, a young gay (and out) FBI rookie. So, for those looking for Angus developing a romantic relationship will be disappointed. Yes, there is a potential love interest -- for once, he is NOT part of the investigation *laugh* -- but even the sexy times are written off pages.
Personally, I couldn't be happier with that fact. I always consider myself a mystery/procedural girl at heart, and it's refreshing for me to have a solid mystery book with gay character that is not boggled down with romantic entanglement. I love romance but hey, I grew up with Agatha Christie, and romance novels came to me when I was in my late teens. Mystery will always have a special place in my heart.
Throughout the book Angus is involved with the investigation -- it starts with an informant who tells an FBI about a possibility of jewelry robbery but then he turns up dead. The case expands a bit, involving drug smuggling in addition to the heist plan and the murder of the informant. At times, Angus also deals with his brother who seems to be involved with a crime. On this part, I thought it became a little convoluted. Too many things going on, you know? I wouldn't mind if the cases were more focused.
Having said that, I thought that Angus is quite competent despite juggling a couple of cases at once. This is Angus first field investigation -- he uses to work behind the best, starting his career as an accountant -- and Angus shows that he can gather information, does research, and stumbles into clues with both luck and his own charm.
Being gay helps Angus approaching potential people with information, even befriending them without seeming snobbish, manipulative or overbearing. This is an advantage that other agents don't have. Angus also comes up with some great thinking when needed and he seems respectful towards his seniors.
I definitely like Angus as a protagonist. Angus feels young, eager, fun, friendly, and determined. He is a character that I can root for. Considering that he is still a rookie, I can also imagine the potential of Angus flourishing at his job at the Bureau. I will look forward to future books on this series...
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.