MtSnow reviews Balls & Chain (An Agent Buck 98 Adventure) by Eric Andrews-Katz, published by Bold Stroke Books on November 17th, 2014, 244 pgs
Why I read the book: Since I had already read and reviewed the first in this series, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see what next adventure Buck 98 had going on. I was given the opportunity to read the first in this series after a conversation and meeting with the author at GRNW in Seattle this year. I loved the premise of a spy adventure with the main character being a ‘Gay James Bond’.
Miguel Reyes is not only the first openly gay governor of Florida, he’s also the man behind Referendum 65. If passed, Florida will be the first Southern state in the U.S. to include marriage equality. When the governor’s fourteen-year-old son, Alejandro, is kidnapped, the message is clear: Kill the bill or we kill the boy!
Agent Buck 98 is given only one week to find and rescue Alejandro. It’s a race against time, and his opposition includes: the boy’s tutor who has suddenly fled the scene, an anti-gay reverend leading protests against the governor, a countess with a rifle and three annoying dogs, and then there’s the romantic pitfalls with a very handsome security guard.
Buck is back on another case, and the alligators aren’t the only things snapping at his heels!
Just like in the first book, the story opens to Buck in the middle of a major crisis. This one was definitely twisted, and a bit humorous, and after reading the comedy of errors later on in the story, it puts a bit of a different light on Buck’s responses in emergency situations, and how he might interact with children. And guess what, his next case deals with a child. I can actually find myself liking this guy, even if he’s as obnoxious as anyone I’ve ever met!
Overall my impression of this story was good, and it was written in a refreshingly somewhat snarky and humorous style, where it was fairly hard for me to take the main character seriously. I think I was expecting a bit more serious and debonair ‘Gay 007’ character, but the actuality does not take away from the enjoyment of reading about Buck and his adventures.
Buck 98, above all else, is an opportunist, not exactly suave or debonair like I think of the ‘straight’ James Bond. Who actually wears turquoise pants with an orange shirt? There are many lovely quips about fashion and Broadway and various other gay ‘stereo-types’ that make this story very tongue-in-cheek, but that doesn’t take away from the underlying mystery that is to be solved in this caper.
All sex is off page but there is plenty of teasing, innuendo, and double entrende used throughout.
For the cast of characters in this book we are introduced to Phynilla, the African-American woman who is the right hand ‘man’ for the first openly gay Southern governor, Miguel Reyes. Oh. And she also happens to be a pastor at the church run by the zealots against Referendum 65.
Next we meet ‘The Countess’ Margareta, who stands guard with a rifle and her dogs Jenny, Earle, and Marquise. To add to this, she actually puts them in costumes, and the noisy pups act as an alarm system. Buck receives an outstanding welcome from this crew to his new assignment at the Mayor’s homestead.
We are teased with discussion about, but not actually seeing, the character of Mrs. Truque, the missing ‘tutor’ for Alejandro. She just so happens to be a 6-ft tall blond woman, and the references to her tend to tease something in the back of your mind each time she is mentioned. Why isn’t she the obvious choice as the kidnapper, since she seems to be missing along with the boy?
As in the previous story, we get to see Muffin (Agent 69), Buck’s superior officer, who is always quick with the comebacks. He is very droll, able to make jokes without cracking a smile.. I get the impression he actually has affection for Buck.
Where, might we ask, is Noxia (Agent 46) this go round? Especially since, in the first adventure, we received the impression she and Buck tended to get paired up quite often. Hmmmm.
Well, you’ll just have to get your hands on this book and find out for yourself. It was a very enjoyable, and to me, light-hearted read, with a bit of mystery, unforeseen catastrophes, creative use of a straw and nails, and some unexpected reveals. Oh, and this one does have a little bit more romance than the first in the series *only a smidge though*.
To Purchase, go to the following links:
Please also see review for the first in this series: