Marc and Dana review Infected: Shift (Infected series, book 5) by Andrea Speed (Published by DSP Publications, October 28, 2014, 376 pages)
To read the review of Infected: Prey click here. To read the review of Infected: Bloodlines click here. To read the review of Infected: Life After Death click here. To read the review of Infected: Freefall click here.
Sequel to Infected: Freefall
Infected: Book Five
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.
Between his mutating virus and his rocky relationship with his artist boyfriend, Dylan, Roan has enough problems to solve without taking on other people’s, but that’s the nature of his work. Someone has to look into the case of the murdered trans woman, and if the perp is the dirty cop Roan suspects it is, the police are not the right people for the job.
But now Roan has a new obstacle to overcome: someone caught part of his transformation on video, and the media frenzy is making it hard to do his job. One case nets him a hockey team full of new friends. Another leads to an attempt on his life. And Roan’s hustler sidekick drags him on a quest for revenge. With his world and his body both in turmoil, Roan is finding it harder and harder to see the line between justice and vigilantism.
1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, May 2012
Roan continues to be one of the most complex and fascinating charcters I have ever had the pleasure to read about. Even when he struggles with his inner darkness as the virus inside him grows stronger and stronger, his heart is good and it is impossible not to care for and love him.
This book is one of my absolute favorites in the series, but I’m not sure I would be able to re-read it. I was reading this book in July 2015, during my summer vacation and it turned into a hell of a dark beach read. More than any demon or vampire or paranormal creature, the capacity of humans to do evil scares the crap out of me. I know that the more traditional monsters are not real, but the fact that such things as snuff films exist makes me almost lose faith in humanity.
The mere thought of the despicable, disgusting and unforgivable actions of some of the bad guys in this book made me sick. Especially knowing that such darkness exists in the real world, I really couldn’t fault Roan and Holden for tapping into their own darkness and using every weapon in their arsenal to hunt down these monsters.
Don’t get me wrong, Roan and Holden can be really fucking scary, but I have seen their thoughts and experienced life through their eyes and however scary they get, I know they are the good guys. They may cross into vigilantism in this book, but I’m pretty sure most readers will be glad they do and hope that they will be able to stop the bad guys – in any way neccesary.
However, I am also very glad that Andrea Speed did not just drag us down into the very darkest abyss of the human soul, without balancing the darkness with light. This book also introduces Dr. Rosenberg, Roan’s no-nonsense doctor and quasi-mother, who has no problem keeping up with Roan and kicking his ass. Her inclusion into the series seems especially important now that Roan seems to spiral out of control more and more with his self-destructive behavior and depression. She may swear like a sailor, but she really cares about Roan and cuts through all of his crap.
We are also introduced to a hockey team that includes some of the most awesome and unexpected characters you will ever meet. When this series was recommended to me, people kept talking about a hockey team and how fun and awesome they are and while reading this series I kept waiting for them. I’m not disappointed. They are loud and rowdy and bold and have open hearts and open minds and in a weird way fit in perfectly with our favorite band of misfits.
The hockey team brings in beautifully dark and much needed humor and they are just so much fun that any scenes with them are vibrating with life. Roan is so down on himself and sees himself as a monster more and more, that these new friends who accept him completely are incredibly important. They stand with him and in a way rescue him and I loved it.
Meanwhile, Roan and Dylan’s relationship feels like a rollercoaster ride. It is realistic, though, because they love each other but the things they have to deal with would challenge every and destroy most relationships. Watching them try to find their way can be painful to watch, but it seems an important dance, so they can find a dynamic that works for them. Roan and Dylan are so different in many ways, but in my opinion they really do fit in a strange way and Dylan makes Roan want to life and cling to his humanity and I am forever grateful for that.
This series continues to be gripping, complex, funny and dark and features the best ‘ensemble cast’ in any book I’ve read. I can’t recommend this series enough if you don’t mnd dark stories and love fantastic mysteries and complex characters.
10/10 Pots of Golde (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Dana – Infected: Shift might be one of my favorite books of the series but also the most disturbing. After protecting an infected responsible for three deaths in the previous book, the setting is a tension filled city with many people calling for the elimination of infected. Roan is also caught on camera knocking out an infected in shifted form. All eyes seem to be on him. Roan’s virus keeps mutating, and his self loathing increases. Enter the funny, crazy, and loyal hockey players of the Seatlle Falcons.
Initially, the defenseman of the team, Grey, approaches Roan to investigate the death of an old friend’s transgender sister. Roan finds himself investigating the boys in blue instead of working with them. The hate crime is sad but the hockey team sticks around and the characters bring a new life to the story. It was an excellent move on the authors part to add these guys to the story.
The second part of the books is the more disturbing part of the story. A rich businessman hires Roan to find his missing son who he barely respects. Roan finds himself wrapped up in a case involving snuff films, a type of porn that involves the faked or possibly very real death of a person during the act of sex. I’m pretty open minded when it comes to porn and kink, but that definitely crosses a line even if it is faked. Unfortunately Holden recognizes one of the victims as a street hustler he knew who went missing. It ends up being a real clusterf*ck when the owner of the filming company is discovered and attempts are made on both Dylan and Roan’s life.
The tension in this book is highly charged. From radical groups of Infected-haters, to Dylan’s loss of control over his own temper and sense of inner peace. Holden and Roan definitely cross the lines into vigilantism at times in this book, but I can honestly not blame them. The story is definitely moved along in this book and Roan still struggles with his developing abilities, and wanting to push Dylan away for his own good while holding him close to bask in his humanity. I liked the serious tone of the book and loved the addition of humor with the hockey players and Dr. Rosenberg, a funny and sometimes foul mouthed doctor who is trying to help Roan with his changes. Again, I have to recommend the whole series. The premise is so different than other shifter books and the characters are extremely memorable.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 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!