Andrews-Katz, Eric. “Balls & Chain”, Bold Strokes Books, 2014.
The governor of Florida, Miguel Reyes, is openly gay and he is the man behind Referendum 65 that if passed would make Florida the first Southern state where there would be marriage equality. However, as we can well imagine, not all Floridians think like the governor and he faces opposition. However, that opposition really hit home when, Alejandro, his teenage son is kidnapped and the ransom is for Reyes to kill the bill or his son will be killed. Agent Buck 98 comes into the case but he only has a short period of time, one week, to rescue the boy, and we find ourselves racing against time.
Alejandro’s tutor has suddenly disappeared and Phynilla, an African-American fundamentalist christian minister (small “c” intentional) verbally protests the governor and leads others to do the same. (She also happens to be an important aide of the governor). There is also the presence of a “countess”, Margareta, with three dogs and a weapon and there is also a very handsome security guard. If you have read Andrews-Katz’s other book about Agent Buck you have a general idea that this book is also going to be a bit twisted and comedic while at the same time deals with a major issue. However we see Buck having to interact with children here which means that he must be careful about what he says and does. You see Buck is not the type of agent that we usually meet and he is quite a far cry from the suaveness of James Bond—in fact we might say that he is crude (and that makes him fun). He is obnoxious and for a gay man, he is lacking in fashion sense. (He is the kind of guy you might imagine with a mullet haircut and a red shirt and green slacks). But there is a very real mystery here and it must be solved.
Once again we have quite a colorful cast of characters and aside from those already mentioned, we meet Muffin (Agent 69), Buck’s superior officer who seems to be romantically interested in Buck. There is also the tutor, Mrs. Truque who is only spoken of and does not really appear in the story. It is interesting that she and Alejandro went missing at the same time.
This is a fun read—one of those books that you will probably forget after you read it but one that gives you a good reading experience. The writing is smooth and polished, the plot is cute and there are many interesting personalities.