Marc and Dana review Infected: Holden (Mean Streets series, book 1) by Andrea Speed (Published by DSP Publications, September 20, 2016, 120 pages). This is a spin-off series to the Infected series and the author will write other books in the same universe.
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Mean Streets: Book One
From the Infected Universe
With his friend lion shifter Roan McKichan no longer in the picture, former sex worker Holden Krause is now working as a detective investigating cases in Seattle. When he receives a request to investigate a rather unusual case for Big Mike, a local drug dealer, he ignores the potential hazards in working for such a client and takes it on.
But Holden hasn’t given up his vigilante ways, occasionally seeking violent retribution for those ignored by the justice system. There’s a man stalking the streets, assaulting anyone he perceives to be trans or gender-nonconforming in any way. When the brutality escalates, the case becomes personal for Holden.
If he cannot juggle being both a detective and a vigilante, his taste for blood and danger might finally catch up with him.
Marc – Holden has always been a very fascinating character for me in the main series. He is smart and cunning like a fox (heh) and a fierce protector for those on the street unable to protect themselves. He may have made a lot of money as a high class escort, but he still remembers how it was to be a poor boy living on the streets. Personally, I always found him scarier and more dangerous than Roan, because Holden is able to kill in cold blood, without regret. Thankfully he only does that to people who were murderers and abusers. To the bad guy (and gals). He had to learn how too protect himself early, being a street kid with only his body to sell and so many people willing to use and abuse the weak. I find him very strong and intriguing, even if the things he sometimes does are very dark and not easy to swallow.
In the main series, Holden seemed like the perfect fit for Roan in his PI agency, but now that he is working on his own, it is easy to see the problems he will have. Holden is great at acting, turning into a different person to gain access to information. He has a great network of street workers who trust him and provide him with information. He is brave and merciless and is willing to do what he needs to do to get results. However, he does not have the patience and experience to know how to start on a complicated case. He does not recognize what is important and where he can find answers that will help him. He does not have a good relationship with the cops and thus brings himself in bad situations.
Reading this book, it became clear rather quickly that this new series is not just different in Roan not being there and the Infected people not really playing any kind of role in this book. It is also different in that Holden will have to find his very own way to investigate and run the PI agency if he wants to succeed with it and it is very different from Roan’s way. That’s not bad, though. Holden may often be underestimated, but even without super powers he can kick ass. He is strong, smart and incredibly calm in extremely dangerous situations. And he has his very own way of permanently taking care of them.
While many things are changing though, I loved how the old gang made an appearance again. So many of the people we have grown to love in the Infected series and some we met, but couldn’t make up our mind about all make an appearance. It is so good that the Infected world still exists. Reading this book felt like coming home!
One of the reasons why we can stay in contact with all of these wonderful characters, even though Holden has never been a big part of them is Scott. He is a big part of this book, which makes sense, because he and Holden have a thing. Even if they don’t want to pin it down and just enjoy the hot sex. There are definitely feelings involved and they care about each other. That of course is something Holden can’t handle and their relationship becomes more difficult in this book.
I find it very interesting that Dana and I experience their ‘dance’ in such different ways. Dana has told me that the events of this book make it seem less likely for her that Holden and Scott end up together in the end, for me it seems even more likely now. You will have to read this book (and its sequels) for yourselves to find out.
In any case, though, there is a special connection between Holden and Scott, even if it is just friendship in the end and that connects Holden to all the other characters we love. We get a lot of Scott POVs and that means a lot of Grey and contact with the other hockey players. I love how Scott’s and Holden’s perspectives balance each other. I love Holden, but his journey does get very dark and it was good to get a break from that at times.
All in all, I’m extremely excited about this new series. The mysteries are interesting and the main character even more so. I suspect this series will get even darker, but I am up for it and I hope you are as well. I think at the end of this book Holden has found his own way of running things and I can’t wait to find out what’s next for him on the mean streets.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Dana – If you are a fan of the Infected series by Andrea Speed, this spin-off series is definitely one you must read. That being said, it is as different from the original series as night and day. I know we were already introduced to Holden and we knew he had some vigilante ways, but he is different in his undiluted form. I say that because even though we knew who he was, Holden with Roan was more balanced. In ways Roan was more balanced by Holden, too. Now Holden seems more cynical than ever, and definitely more closed off to others around him.
It’s like taking on the business of being a P.I. on his own makes him feel like he needs to be completely on his own. I kept hoping that Holden would find someone who would be a good partner for him sexually, emotionally. It even seemed like it was all set up in the last books of the Infected series. So part of me was disappointed by his lack of a romantic life in this book. Holden does a really good job of pushing away all his old friends that he mostly took on while he worked with Roan. Though a certain pairing seems like it might be dead, it’s unclear whether it might just be taking time off. I do wonder what the author has on the horizon for Holden. Especially when he takes in a former fellow rent boy as his assistant.
Chai, short for Somchai, has been through some hard times. An accident has left him with a prosthetic, and he comes back to town in a depression. Helping Holden with his case seems to turn things around for him. As far as business goes, Holden and Chai seem like a great pair. Chai is great at looking into things legally, and it leaves Holden to be a bit reckless and less law abiding in his investigating. Which is just how Holden prefers it. I, however, hope that someone will come into his life that will help him reconsider some of his decisions. Could it be Chai? Or Holden’s former sex buddy? Or even someone new? I don’t know, but I really want to know the answer. One thing about Holden, is that no matter how ruthless he might be in getting things done, he takes care of the people he cares about.
In this book several characters from the original series are back and I’m so glad to see them again. It felt like a reunion with some of my favorite people. Scott, Grey, Tank, and Fiona are all present. Grey’s asexuality is discussed in a big way and I love that awareness is made. I think it is important, but at times it felt like it was overshadowing other aspects of Grey’s personality. As if Grey’s main characteristic is that he isn’t interested in having sex with anyone. Scott also starts to hang out with Gareth, the cop from the cat squad. There is a mini “I miss Roan and am still infatuated with him” fan club between the two of them. Kevin helps out a bit, and Dee also has a brief appearance in this book. Oh, how much I missed all of them. Besides the return of all these favorites there were a few phone calls to a lion infected that really made my day.
What is really different about this book? Don’t expect Holden and friends to go up against any infecteds, any protesters of the infected, or any infected wannabees. It is more grittier, as Holden’s clientele are a lot different than Roan’s. Infected: Holden definitely had a different feel to it for me. It took me just a bit to adjust to this new series, but by the end, I was very excited and eager for the next book. I can’t recommend this universe, series, and book enough.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 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!
Check out the previous duo reviews of Andrea Speed’s Infected series:
To read the duo review of Infected: Prey (Infected Book 1) click here.
To read the duo review of Infected: Bloodlines (Infected Book 2) click here.
To read the duo review of Infected: Life After Death (Infected Book 3) click here.
To read the duo review of Infected: Freefall (Infected Book 4) click here.
To read the duo review for Infected: Shift (Infected Book 5) click here.
To read the duo review for Infected: Lesser Evils (Infected Book 6) click here.
To read the duo review for Infected: Undertow (Infected Book 7) click here.
To read the duo review for Infected: Epitaph (Infected Book 8) click here.
To read the duo review of Infected: Paris (Infected Book 0.5) click here.