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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Infected: Bloodlines by Andrea Speed

Infected: Bloodlines by Andrea Speed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (208 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

The newly married Roan is struggling to balance his work with his home life as he grows increasingly distracted by his husband Paris's declining health. The newly married Roan is struggling to balance his work with his home life as he grows increasingly distracted by his husband Paris's declining health. One case with strong emotions attached takes up most of his time: finding the murderer of a missing little rich girl. It's a family with secrets so toxic they'd rather no one investigate, and there's no shortage of suspects. But despite the dangers and obstructions involved, Roan won't stop... until he loses something infinitely precious as well.

If a reader enjoyed the first in the Infected series and now has certain expectations, let me assure them that this book will not only meet them but exceeded them. I simply could not put this book down.

Once again, Roan is on a case. It’s one he didn’t want and really tried to avoid, but Matt, a character from the first book, stumbled upon something that stank of bad things and the only people he trusts is Roan and Paris to look into it. Readers won’t find quite as many bodies and hard action in this book. What I found was a very sad story about rich kids getting the short end of the stick from their families and from life in general. Ultimately, the underbelly of society has a way of reaching out and poisoning those very people that a person would think would be inured from such things.

Readers beware in this book. I found myself feeling much stronger for Roan’s character through the telling of this tale. Ms. Speed let me see into the emotions tearing at him from the inside. Previously, he was fighting an internal struggle about the lion virus inside himself and hating what and who he was. In this book, and I think a lot of credit goes to Paris for this, he’s come to terms with what he is. Oh, he has his moments and the author gave him dialogue that is all Roan. He has a particular way of plain speaking, to others and in his internal dialogue. Most of the book is told from Roan’s POV but Paris has his turn in a few places and the author certainly used it effectively and with powerful affect.

The relationship between Roan and Paris is a jewel. It’s a give and take with Paris understanding Roan’s strange quirks that would normally annoy anyone else to the point of them wanting to shoot him. There’s a dry sense of humor between them but in this book, desperation too. Also, I think this story could possibly stand on its own. I mean the mystery and suspense of this case is unique to this tale and absolutely could be read as is. However, the situation with Paris would be much better understood and emotionally felt if a reader had read Infected: Prey first. Why do I say that? Because when I opened up the first page in Infected: Bloodlines, I knew what was going to happen, had to happen, from the way Ms. Speed had set up the parameters of her world building in the first book.

I had the honor of reviewing the first story and I stated that I really wanted the author to give Paris and Roan a happily ever after despite the foreshadowing she wove into the first book. What the tiger strain virus is doing to Paris eventually comes to pass. There is no magical get out of jail free card, there can’t be and I credit Ms. Speed to sticking to the truth and honesty of her story despite my wishing that she wouldn’t. The deep emotion and love that Paris and Roan have for each other comes through from some very vibrant, strong and powerful story telling. My heart ached for Roan throughout and I just about wept with what Paris was doing behind Roan’s back in preparation for the inevitable.

The dialogue, descriptions, the characters – all of them were so well done and fleshed out and each contributed to the story keeping the plot moving, the pace brisk and my interested riveted.

And you know what? With Infected: Bloodlines, Ms. Speed is going to give Nicholas Sparks a run for his money, her writing was that good. She had me crying and blubbering by the end. The difference is, with Mr. Sparks I usually want to yell at his characters and I’m angry at how the books end. With this book, I ached, I pined; I wanted to hug Roan and save Paris but I could do neither. That final chapter was so poignant, and dramatic – if it were in the movies, it’d win an Oscar. It was the best piece of emotionally tense writing I’ve read in ages and I enthusiastically congratulate Ms. Speed on a job well done.

I wholeheartedly recommend Infected: Bloodlines for those readers that enjoy suspenseful mysteries with heart because this book has it all.

1 comment:

andys said...

Thank you for the kind review. I was prepared for readers to hate me after this. Thank you for not hating me.