Marc and Dana review Infected: Freefall (Infected series, book 4) by Andrea Speed (Published by DSP Publications, October 21, 2014, 350 pages)
Sequel to Infected: Life After Death
Infected: Book Four
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.
Conceived bearing the lion strain of the virus, Roan is the only fully functioning virus child in the country—maybe in the world. But that doesn’t mean he’s okay. He’s still struggling with the death of his husband and the guilt of finding new love; his old enemy, the Church of the Divine Transformation, is becoming increasingly hostile; and he’s taken on a tragic cold case involving a long-missing boy.
As Roan fights to control the lion inside him, his world explodes with all kinds of trouble. The leader of the church is ramping up the violence against him, calling Roan out as a traitor to his kind. There’s a loose infected terrorizing the city. And Holden, male prostitute and Roan’s unofficial assistant, brings him a case involving the suspicious death of one of Holden’s clients, which puts Roan far too close to a murderer for his state of mind….
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, November 2011
Marc – Infected: Freefall is very aptly named. The mysteries are interesting, but take a back seat to Roan fighting against himself on several fronts. He is losing control over his dark side, the lion that lives within himself. He is freefalling into depression, having vivid dreams of Connor, his first love and Paris (I promised you – never forgotten) and with his powers and the lion’s control increasing, he becomes more and more addicted to painkillers. He does live in constant physical and mental pain, but this trend is still worrying.
There is also a major spotlight on Roan and Dylan’s relationship. Obviously, it is very different from Roan’s relationship with Paris, because Dylan is a VERY different guy. He has this whole zen thing going on and is more interested in Roan than his lion. I think Paris loved Roan and his Lion equally, but as the lion becomes more and more powerful and gives Roan new, unnatural abilities, it is a good thing that Dylan loves Roan, the human. He needs to constantly be reminded who he is and that he deserves to be loved.
Their struggle about finding a right dynamic is interesting to watch. How involved can they be in all the different parts of each other’s lives, how will Dylan react to Roan’s increasing addiction to painkillers, etc. I feel like Dylan has a better understanding of Roan’s dark side than many might assume, but chooses to focus on loving Roan’s humanity. He gives him the room he needs and the love he deserves and anchors him to this world, as Paris used to do. Just in a different way.
I LOVED that Holden/Fox is becoming a major character. He takes on an assistant role with Roan, which is important since Roan life starts to spin out of control and he is not able to take care of everything. He has a very different style than Roan, but I think he is a super interesting character and I was very excited to read his scenes and get to know him better.
The different POVs of Dylan and Holden really worked well for me, because they ARE major characters now and to see things from their perspective was very important to get the full story. I don’t want to miss anything about Roan and his life and that includes how the other people most important to him perceive everything that happens.
It almost feels like Dylan with his easy love and acceptance and his zen attitude towards life takes care of Roan’s humanity and Fox, with his own dark side, the strong protective urge and his own dark moral code takes care of Roan’s dark side. Fox is super intelligent, fiercely loyal, courageous, strong and I’m so glad that he is now one of the majors. ❤
I felt like this book was very easy to read. I care so deeply about these characters by now that I devour every word I can find about them. I NEED to know how their story continues and I’m actually glad that a story this complex and complicated is not just a threadbare book, but has some meat to sink my teeth in. The amazing characters, tight editing and the two-books-in-one thing works very well for me by now.
10/10 Pots of Golde (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Dana – In Infected: Freefall there is a lot going on. Like most of the books before it, it is split up into two parts. Each mini book features a major case and usually a few minor ones that Roan is working on as a private investigator. In this one it feels more like a few major cases, none solved easily. In the first part Roan takes a cold case involving a missing child that leads him and the police to a serial killer. There is also a simple cheating spouse case he takes that leads to a double murder, and on top of that there is the Church of the Divine Transformation. Since losing their leader that Roan had a complicated dislike for to the disease, they found a new leader determined to make life harder for Roan. When Dylan gets hurt because of them, Roan decides not to turn the other cheek anymore.
In the second book, there is an infected loose during it’s transformation cycle and three people end up dead. When the infected is discovered to have a connection to Paris’ friend Randi it causes a strain on her dealings with Roan. Holden also hires Roan to look into the death of a former client of his, and Roan is nearly killed. I said in the past that Roan walks a line between lawfulness and vigilantism but it is apparent where Holden stands on that in this book.
I know I’ve talked about the infection many times during my previous reviews, but here’s a little refresher. There is a virus that changes normal human beings into large cats during the transformation cycle. The transformation is not easy like it is in some shifter books. It is extremely painful. The tearing of human muscles and skin in order to reshape into a lion, tiger, etc form puts such strain on the human organs that the lifespan of the infected is short. Even though Roan is a born infected and has always had to share his body with his feline half his whole life, the change takes a toll on him. I’ve mentioned that his virus is mutating and he is able to do things no infected can and one thing is his ability to half transform. He can will it on and in times of extreme anger it sneaks up on him, but it makes him extremely deadly to those who might piss him off. But we learn in this book a little bit of what that kind of half change is doing to him; physically, and concerning his relationship with Dylan.
With all the pain he goes through, Roan has developed a slight prescription drug problem. Pain killers for the pain (obviously) and sedatives to keep the lion at bay. He begins to fear losing control and hurting Dylan. Dylan has accepted Roan’s need for pills, but it leaves him questioning when an enemy is able to use Roan’s addiction against him. Before Roan, Dylan’s life as an artist and bartender was safe, with considerably less drama than it is now. He wonders if he can keep coping with all the complications being in a relationship with Roan brings.
Dylan is not the only one reflecting, so is Roan. A few nudges from his dead exes makes Roan question whether his excessive pill popping is really due to the pain he feels or if he really needs the downers to keep the lion subdued. Are his partial transformations and drug use just a subconscious death wish? Ultimately, he has to decide whether he will let his newest developments to his health rule his life or if he will try to make each day count in his work and with Dylan.
For me this story was important. It’s definitely less angsty than books 2 and 3; and though it has plenty of action, the cases don’t have much impact on the story as a whole. While Infected: Freefall should definitely be read, it didn’t make me feel like some of the other books did. Maybe that’s due to Roan’s own apathy at where his life is. It’s sort of a turning point in the series. To give up or not to give up. What Roan chooses will definitely effect the rest of the books. With Holden, Fiona, and Diego still participating in Roan and Dylan’s lives you know it will be interesting. As always I definitely recommend this book and the entire series. It has mystery, comedy, romance, and pain. There is a roller coaster of emotions to be felt by the reader and that makes a book and/or series special to me.
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!