Marc and Dana review Infected: Life After Death (Infected series, book 3) by Andrea Speed. (Published by DSP Publications, October 21, 2014, 354 pages)
Sequel to Infected: Bloodlines
Infected: Book Three, 2nd Edition
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.
But when your heart is gone, it’s easy to fall into a black hole and never crawl out. Roan has been lost and alone for more than a year, and his best friends think a new case might be just the motivation he needs. Roan forces himself back into the game and discovers a dead man who might not be all that dead, a street hustler that wants to hustle him, and a dominatrix who is well prepared to take Roan’s orders. As Roan claws his way out of the darkness by diving back into his work, he finds himself in a race against time in the adrenaline-pumping realization that nothing helps a person want to live like helping someone else survive.
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, May 2011
Marc – In my review of ‘Infected: Prey’, book one in the Infected series, I summarized book two in the series as ‘HEARTBREAK’ and book three as ‘ANGST’. Even though I braced myself, book two felt like a right hook to my heart aand I needed time to digest the loss of a character I fell in love with recklessly.
It took me TWO YEARS until I dared to open book three to move on – with the series and my grief for a made-up person. Silly, right? But Andrea Speed writes her characters and the world they live in so realistically and beautifully,that I can’t help but be fully drawn in.
Still, I should have trusted her more, because she does not just move on like nothing happened. Infected: Life after Death is a book filled with angst, but also of healing. We share Roan’s pain and grief about his dead husband and experience the different stages of grief with him.
The Urban Dictionary defines angst in the following way:
“Angst, often confused with anxiety, is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. Without the important element of hope, then the emotion is anxiety, not angst. Angst denotes the constant struggle one has with the burdens of life that weighs on the dispossessed and not knowing when the salvation will appear”.
I felt like this perfectly describes the emotions Roan has in this book. He has lost the man he loved, the guy who was his anchor to the world. Without Paris, Roan falls into a deep depression and it is only through the pressure and help of his friends that he even does the most basic things like eating.
He is a confused child in a dark world he has lost faith in. But even though Paris died, he has not left him completely. He was so important to Roan that the man will always carry Paris in his heart. Paris is a voice inside him that tries to get him to live again.
Not only that, Paris has also set some plans into motion to ensure that Roan will be taken care of, because he knew his husband well and imagined the way grief would eat him up. Through him, Roan is introduced to Dylan, who is in many ways very much the opposite to Paris, but also an amazing character and just what Roan needs.
I loved the contrast of the calm and optimistic buddist and the angry, world-weary and dark hero/anti-hero that Roan becomes more and more. Even as Roan gets stronger and more pwerful all the time and defies everything readers and people in Andrea Speed’s Infected universe know about the virus, he seems flawed, human, vulnerable and it is impossible for me not to care for him.
As I lived through his immense, paralysing grief with him, I was glad Roan finally found hope. The case of a missing husband brought him back into the world and back to what he does best – unpuzzling mysteries.
The second mystery introduces readers to two of my favorite characters,
Fox and Fiona, who I already loved in this book and who are important for the rest of the series as well. Characters like these two, the vigilante hooker and the part-time dominatrix/ assistant are what make this world so irresistable to me.
For me the intense grief for Paris, the uncertainty of what is happening to him, the lost faith in humanity and the need to help nevertheless and the hope for new love, even as Roan can’t see beyond the seemingly unbearable grief is a wonderful mix of angsty perfection and I am absolutely certain it will help readers get over their own loss in Paris as well.
This is just the beginning – so many wonderful, dark and absolutely spellbinding stories left.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars.
Dana – After the tears I shed in book 2 of the Infected series, I really thought it might carry into book 3, Life After Death. There were a few, but a lot less than I expected. A year has passed in between Bloodlines and the next book. A year in which Roan has turned into a shell of his former self, and is just starting to rejoin the land of the living with help from Matt, Diego, and Paris’s friend Randi. Between them they have kept his life and business in working order until he was ready to live it.
Life After Death is another two part story as Roan takes his first private investigation case in a year. It’s a case of a wrong identification of a deceased loved one. Roan and Randi go to Las Vegas in search of a missing person only to uncover that a past secret has come back to haunt a few people who lived in the same apartment building years and years before. I thought the mystery was fantastic and it sparked life into Roan as he shares grieving a loved one with his client.
His second case is also not infected related, the police department ask for his help with a killer who seems to be preying on street hustlers. This story is great because we meet two very important characters. Fiona, a dominatrix that Roan eventually recruits to work for him, and Holden aka Fox who is a former street prostitute who made his way up to an elite male escort. Both of these two breathe a lot of life into the story and become more important as each book goes on.
Roan’s personal life starts to move forward, as well. A bartender that Roan had briefly met on a previous case named Dylan befriends him and they bond over losses in their pasts. As they become closer, Matt’s personality becomes erratic. It really disappointed me because I had hope for him as an important character throughout the series. Unfortunately his actions push him away from that possibility. While I loved Paris and Roan and really wished they could have had a happily ever after, I realized it was impossible. Roan had really been able to bond with Paris over their infected status in a way that doesn’t seem like it can be replicated. What Dylan might bring to the table that Paris couldn’t was that his humanity can help ground Roan as he and his lion keep changing. But for all those die-hard Paris fans, you may not have technically heard the last from him, so you should definitely check this book out. It really is an incredible series.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars.
Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men.
Viva la revolution!