Author: Andrea Speed
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Infected: Book One
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 murder of a former cop draws Roan into an odd case where an unidentifiable species of cat appears to be showing an unusual level of intelligence. He juggles that with trying to find a missing teenage boy, who, unbeknownst to his parents, was “cat” obsessed. And when someone is brutally murdering infecteds, Eli Winters, leader of the Church of the Divine Transformation, hires Roan to find the killer before he closes in on Eli.
Working the crimes will lead Roan through a maze of hate, personal grudges, and mortal danger. With help from his tiger-strain infected partner, Paris Lehane, he does his best to survive in a world that hates and fears their kind… and occasionally worships them.
Note: This novel is actually two shorter novellas in one: Infected and Prey. My review is for the two as a whole, and though both contain their own separate storyline, they read as one continuous novel.
I will be honest and say I have only read one other shifter book, which I simply could not finish. Fortunately, this didn’t color my view of the genre, and I am so glad I took the opportunity to read Infected: Prey, the first book in the Infected series by Andrea Speed. It provides a strong social message, a well-developed crime story, and an intriguing look at the personal relationship between two infected men and their coming to terms with their own illness and the effect it has on each other, the world, and on themselves.
The author takes our current, familiar world and builds within it a society in which people can be infected by a cat virus that causes its victims to transform into wild cats on a cyclical basis. Those who are infected by the pathogen borne disease are generally stigmatized and feared, creating an interesting and heartbreaking social dynamic as the infecteds work to maintain a normal life despite the blight they are perceived to bring upon the world. I found this particular approach to the shifter theme quite intriguing and thought-provoking. The statement here is strong, yet skillfully woven within the context of the narrative so that it comes across clearly but not preachy.
Ms. Speed’s writing is clean, edgy, and intelligent. The graphic descriptions, gritty characters, and clever dialogue bring a raw reality to the page and do an excellent job of engaging the reader in the mystery and intrigue that dominates the narrative. Readers should be aware that this is a crime story with a paranormal twist, and the emphasis here is on the mystery and social issues rather than romance. It is hard-hitting and at times gut wrenching; however, the attention to detail also provides rich and compelling layers to this gripping read.
I truly enjoyed meeting and getting to know infecteds Roan and Paris, established partners in life and in business. They play well off of one another, opposites with unique talents that work together to create a strong couple and investigative team. As they race against time to solve crimes involving other infecteds, their personal histories slowly unfold, providing interesting character development and relationship backstory. Bits and pieces of both men are revealed as the investigations progress, and their individual struggles with the virus and its impact upon their lives become more evident and disconcerting as the story nears its final pages.
There are some big question marks left upon completion of Prey, with Roan and Paris’s story continuing in the next installment of the series. I’m picking it up, and I highly recommend Infected: Prey for those who enjoy paranormal urban cat shifters and a gripping story with smart writing.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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