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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Infected: Lesser Evils by Andrea Speed

Infected: Lesser Evils by Andrea Speed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (421 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 5 stars
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.

Until recently, Roan was ahead of the curve when it came to reining in the lion that lives inside him. Now his control is slipping at the worst possible times. A new drug has hit the streets—one that triggers unscheduled changes in infected users. Street hustler Holden Krause gets attacked by one of his clients, then is surprised to find himself involved in an unwanted, unexpected relationship. And a serial killer begins targeting infecteds in their cat form—something that’s 100 percent legal.

To stop the murders, Roan has to work outside the law. But his newfound thirst for violence makes him worry he might be more like the killer than he thought, and his reluctance to talk about it with his husband, Dylan, puts an extra strain on their relationship. So Roan isn’t just fighting the killer and struggling with his mutating virus… he’s trying to save himself.

I get the impression that Ms. Speed loves to blow expectations and assumptions right out of the water because Infected: Lesser Evils does exactly that. The format is different, the ending is different and the players are juggled, jiggled and tested beyond endurance. In short, the whole reading experience is an exercise in amazement, thrills, chills and astounded disbelief at some of the things that happen. To say this book gripped my attention from the suspense is an understatement. I was taken hostage. I had this almost insane need to know what happens next, who it was going to happen to and who, if anyone, would survive. Talk about classic drama! I couldn't put the book down.

Expect to see most of the usual crew in this novel. The new characters need to be wearing red shirts because every one seems to be a target of something foul and hate-filled, even if not all of them die, they should have. But that's my inner vigilante showing.

Poor Roan is inundated with all things bizarre. Readers will not be disappointed in his latest adventures. There's the classic Roan sense of humor, the sometimes self-destructive behavior, his love for Dylan and his missing of his first husband, Paris. But there's something new introduced too - hope and fear. I am not going to tell readers what inspired which, that pleasure will come from reading the book.

There's a new conflict that is drug induced. I get the feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg and I don't believe Roan is going to succeed in making a dent in it's existence. It's a hard pill to swallow - which is the only pill that is. (inside pun for fans of the series). Then there is the horrific cat-killer case that really disturbed me. I actually felt for the female cougar - she showed signs of being present or connected with her human side just a little bit. I wonder if other readers caught that?

And Holden! Poor Holden. Getting more interesting by the book, Holden. That man is totally indescribable. He's hot, snarky, secretive, deadly and a really great sidekick for Roan. But when the author put Scott and Holden in the same room, things really got interesting. I can't wait to see what Ms. Speed is going to do with those two. Hopefully something because the possibilities of great emotional conflict are abundant.

Speaking of emotional conflict - wow. Dylan and Roan have had their moments but Ms. Speed really got into their heads this time with some truly direct zingers that affected my feelings. I'm worried about Roan. In fact I'm frantic! Ms. Speed did not have the case wrap-ups come about the way she has in the past and the ending left me stunned. I'm in denial and I kept talking to the book like it would make a difference. With one chapter, Ms. Speed has guaranteed the next book to be an auto-buy. No fan of the series, who adores it as much as I do, will be left unaffected by this novel. There will be a long line of rabid fans waiting for the next book, I guarantee it. Is it too much to ask that the next book comes out in time for Christmas?

Once again, Infected: Lesser Evils includes plenty of gritty action, tough talk, fights, bites and blood. There are bad cops and good cops, a church with a bizarre offer and the best part, more fun with the hockey players. Grey, Tank and the gang are some of the most fun additions to this series. Ms. Speed had a stroke of genius when she created them. They provided many chuckles, snickers and guffaws throughout and I'm going to miss Tank. He's awesome. They all are, really.

Infected: Lesser Evils is a must buy. It's simply amazing and totally action-packed with conflict, revelations and excitement. There is some downtime where readers get a bit more insight into each character. As each book in the series progresses, everyone who populates it grows, changes and becomes more fully formed. It's a great series and I recommend it highly.

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