Marc and Dana review Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets series, book 2) by Andrea Speed (Published by DSP Publications, February 13, 2018, 280 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.
To read the duo review for Infected: Holden (Mean Streets Book 1) click here.
[Marc] Why I read this book:
I devoured the entire Infected series and the new Mean Streets series in the same universe is a must-read for me. Holden is a very interesting character and I love to see him interact with the other amazing characters in this series. Plus, I enjoy dark and gritty mysteries.
[Dana] Why I read this book:
After reading the Infected series and falling in love with the primary and secondary characters I just had to read the spin off series. Holden’s darker ways and means really made me want to read this to see if he finds some sort of balance in his life. Plus, this blurb mentioning Roan… EEK! (Yes, I’m totally fangirling this fictional character. 😉 )
Sequel to Infected: Holden
Mean Streets: Book Two
From the Infected Universe
Former prostitute and street kid turned private detective Holden Krause is asked to look into the murder of Burn, a black-market dealer, who turns up dead near the infamous homeless encampment known as the Jungle. It’s a place Holden is familiar with—and his memories of it aren’t entirely bad. The settlement has been taken over by sinister people but Holden isn’t afraid to take them on. A big part of his PI gig is cover for his more dangerous vigilante crusade: exacting justice for the people the system ignores, the throwaways—people just like the ones living in the Jungle.
It’s getting harder and harder for Holden’s partner, Chai Nayar, to look the other way while Holden searches out retribution beyond the confines of the law. When one of their associates is shot and Holden realizes—far too late—that he’s in over his head with this case, Chai is left to pick up the pieces and hopefully save their lives. He resorts to the only solution he can find and calls Roan, who is more lethal than ever. Will it be their saving grace, or a fatal mistake?
Andrea Speed: Instead of the usual promo post thing, I thought it might be fun to have characters in the Infected series interview other characters. I kind of wanted to see what they would come up with. So I gave Holden the chance to interview anyone, and I have to admit, his choice was kind of surprising. (By the way, warning – quite a bit of cursing.)
Holden: Okay, Grey, I have to know – what was it like growing up an asexual who didn’t know they were an asexual? What did you think was going on?
Grey: Oh wow. Right out of the gate with the big one, huh? Umm, I guess I always thought I was weird, you know? But I didn’t think it was really a problem. In fact, when I was a really young teenager, I thought everybody was just pretending.
Holden: Pretending what?
Grey: To be attracted to other people, to being really horny. (laughs) I mean, I grew up with nothing but brothers, I suppose I should have known better, but I thought it was something you just did until it became real for you.
Holden: Holy shit. I don’t even know what to say about that. Except I think you’re right, to some degree. Or maybe I should say that I think it’s correct for kids who grow up without a healthy relationship to model. You sort of grope and fumble along, and hope you eventually find something, and you’ll know it when you see it.
Grey: Yeah. I guess I was lucky ‘cause my parents seem to have a good relationship, so I know what one looks like, but … the sexual attraction thing. It never clicked. I asked girls out, I played by what I thought the rules were, waiting for the rest of it to just show up.
Holden: And it didn’t.
Grey: No, never. I think every girlfriend I’ve ever had has broken up with me because I never wanted to have sex or get physical. I mean, I would if the pressure was really on, but holy fuck, I didn’t know what anybody got out of it. I did it ‘cause I knew what was expected of me.
Holden: Did you ever consider the possibility you might not be straight?
Grey: Oh yeah, that was my first thought actually. But I’ve been involved in hockey since pee-wee, and I was surrounded by naked guys. Well, you know what I mean, showering and changing and stuff. And I knew I wasn’t attracted to naked men, just like I wasn’t attracted to naked women.
Holden: When did you start to understand that you were different from many other people?
Grey: Dude, I’ve always been different. I was six one when I was fifteen.
Holden: You should have played basketball. But you know what I mean.
Grey: Uh … by college it got really glaring. I was rooming with a guy who seemed to have a different girlfriend every week, and had a bottomless appetite for porn. He assumed I’d be into it too, ‘cause we’re both men’s men or whatever the fuck, and I wasn’t. I saw a counselor, who was convinced my lack of sexual urges was all depression, and wanted to put me on anti-depressants.
Holden: So a therapist who didn’t know about asexuals, or didn’t believe in them.
Grey: Yeah. I tried to take ‘em too, but the first pill gave me a massive headache, so I flushed them and never took any again. Besides, I didn’t feel depressed. I had a fairly good idea of what that was, and the only thing that matched up was lack of sexual urges.
Holden: Was that it for therapists for you?
Grey: Pretty much. Although, a couple years later, I asked this doctor about it – I was seeing him for hockey related reasons – and he thought my lack of sexual desire was due to the fact that I was expending too much testosterone playing hockey. He thought I should increase my testosterone levels.
Holden: Are you shitting me?
Grey: I wish I was. But I think I offended him, ‘cause I just started laughing, and I couldn’t stop.
Holden: I would have too. The last thing a Frankenstein like you needs is more testosterone.
Grey: Frankenstein’s monster.
Holden: Who gives a fuck? So Scott told you you’re probably asexual, right?
Grey: Basically. He knew I wasn’t into the puck bunny shit as the rest of the guys, and one day he just said ‘you ever think you might be asexual’, and he told me what that was and showed me an article, and I was like ‘I guess so’.
Holden: How did that feel?
Grey: Like a relief. I had an answer! I wasn’t depressed or nuts or lacking testosterone. I just don’t feel sexual attraction like most people. Good. I exist somewhere. I’m valid.
Holden: It is nice to have a group.
Grey: It is. But I’m a hockey player, so of course I’d think that way. Hey, can I ask you something?
Grey: Scott told me you used to play high school baseball. Why did you stop?
Holden: Oh. Well, it’s not really a good story. I got in to playing baseball because my Dad wanted me to, and I used to be a little suck up. I was in the closet, and I started seeing this guy on the swim team, who was also closeted. But he almost got outed by some asshole friends of his, and to save himself, outed me instead. They jumped me after school and beat the shit out of me. I ended up in the ER, and outed, and my parents threw me out maybe forty eight hours later? So that was the end of my illustrious pitching career. Well, at least in one respect.
Grey: Oh man, that sucks. You wanna tell me where I can find them? I can make their life hell.
Holden: Thanks, but I’m treating my parents as already dead. Don’t know where they are. Don’t care.
Grey: What about the swimmer guy?
Holden: Oh. Hey, I almost forgot about him. I wonder if he’s on Facebook …
Grey: Worth checking out.
Holden: So if I need some back up ..?
Grey: Just gimme the time and place. I’ll show up with brass knuckles on.
Holden: You have brass knuckles?
Grey: Falcons gave ‘em to me as a joke birthday present. But they’re real, they work, and they’re spectacular. Scares the shit outta everyone.
Holden: I thought you did that all on your own.
Grey: I usually do. But with the knucks, it’s like a veritable shit tornado.
Holden: I will admit, I kinda wanna see that now … but we’re just kidding folks. Violence is no way to solve problems, and brass knuckles are illegal in most states. So we’re just kidding.
Holden: (whispers) Call me later, we’ll figure it out.
Holden: By the way, you went to college? What did you get a degree in?
Grey: English literature.
Holden: Fuck off.
Grey: No, I’m serious! Why d’ya think I have a crush on Roan? A man who loves books
has my heart.
Holden: You’re seriously weird.
Grey: Thank you.
Holden: Crush the goddamn normies.
*they fist bump*
Andrea Speed: I’m now extremely sorry these two don’t have a scene together in the new Infected. But
they both appear in Infected: Throwaways, along with Roan, Dylan, Chai, Scott, and the
whole gang. [Andrea Speed]
Usually, it is easy for me to write reviews for the books I read, but difficult to find the right rating for the things I liked and didn’t like about them. For this book, I have the opposite problem. I knew as soon as I finished, what my rating would be, because it fit my feelings. I liked the book, liked the mystery and as always loved the characters of the Infected world. 8 pots of gold feels exactly right. I enjoyed reading this book and can’t wait for the next one. However, it is difficult to find the right words for this review.
One thing that struck me about this book is that it felt very dark, angry and political. It’s easy to see that the author wrote it in a time where Trump became president and poor people and minorities are being pushed away. I liked that the authors shows readers a different part of our world that we don’t usually see or choose not to see. Chai and Holden have both lived on the street, had sex for money, have seen the world in a way that is beyond my imagination, because I have grown up sheltered and secure. Holden sees the world from the perspective of someone with white male privilege, who knows how it feels to lose that. He has seen very dark things and is very observant about everyone around himself. Chai has also experienced his share of bad situations – to say the least – but not for as long as Holden and quite as dark. However, not being a white guy like Holden, he had to fight his own battles and has his own unique view.
I enjoyed getting to meet characters I already loved new through Chai’s eyes. With his different perspective, readers can see them in a new light as well. And by getting to know him more, it was easy to like Chai as character as well. He and Holden fit together and complement each other well as PIs. Though with Holden’s darker activities, it felt realistic and right that Chai would have to struggle with how to react.
Holden’s darknes shines ever strong. He is a really scary dude. I mean I like him and think that he is a very interesting character, but his willingness to kill and how little it seems to shake him are very scary. He is a force to be reckoned with and so easy to underestimate (though not for much longer), but the darkness within him is way stronger than I thought and at times I needed to put the book down and get a break from the darkness. Think about it and put it into perspective. In RL I am stricktly against such violence, but I can understand how Holden used and in some respect also how he is now using it to protect people. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing him get revenge for others, but then he makes one step to much in the darkness and I feel bad for supporting him as reader and getting even some satisfaction from his actions. He is not -necessarily- a bad person, but he does very bad things to bad people.
I liked the mysteries and the way they worked together to solve them, but for me the biggest draw were the characters. It was fantastic to see them again – like seeing old friends – and having them meet in new constellations that create interesting new character dynamics. I love getting the chance to explore Holden further, but also enjoyed that Chai, Dee and Roan got more screen time than in book one. Though I would have loved more Scott time (and in effect more Gray time, too). Roan really made me nostalgic for the original Infected series. But this series is the next best thing to more books in the main series. It allows readers to step back in the world they love.
This book was certainly not an easy read, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It made me think about the status quo, politics, morality, vigilantism and much more more in a serious way. But it also gave me great mysteries, amazing characters and entertained me. I can’t wait to find out what’S next in store for Holden.
8/10 Pots of Gold (80% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
It’s been over a year since I’ve entered the Infected world so to say I was eager is an understatement. In my review for Infected: Holden, I mentioned that the Mean Streets series is a lot different from the original Infected series. Now I have to say that Infected: Throwaways is a lot different from Infected: Holden. There are a couple of reasons for that.
First, is the political thing that Marc mentioned. A lot has happened in the last year and a half since Holden was released. We have a president that has managed to offend nearly everyone except white, straight, cisgendered, rich men. And he’s probably offended some of them. It’s a different world and this book reflects that in a big way. I might even say that the Throwaways in the title could refer to all of us who feel at odds with the presidency and not just the street dwellers in the book. The anger that the characters feel in this book at society, the police, and the government is really intense though and at times can be really bitter. I can totally relate but at the same time I miss their less diatribal snarkiness.
Another reason this book feels different is that for about a third of the book, Holden is injured and Chai’s character steps up a lot and his point of view is new and different from the past books. In my last review I wondered if Chai could be a love interest for Holden but this book really seems to cement their very platonic friendship. Holden really doesn’t seem to be looking for a partner but Chai does. His eyes wander to Grey and I can’t blame him because Grey is one of my favorite characters in this series. He is hulking but has a heart of gold. And yes he is asexual. In the above interview I can totally understand that asexuals deserve validation. Making him asexual is a great addition to the story but again I felt like it was mentioned so much that it overshadows just how great Grey is just for being Grey.
Roan comes back in this story!! It’s not just a phone call. We get to see the man-the lion in action. I missed him so much. But even he seems different. There is a small part from his point of view. He is one of the few characters whose anger might have lessened in this book. He’s either mellowed out during his break from crime fighting or hes even more jaded and accepts the harsher world for what it is and it doesn’t phase him as much. For so long, Grey, Scott, and Holden have built up Roan when talking about him. He is a superhero, and he seems godly in their eyes. I was even feeling that way, too, while reading what they thought. When he did show up and met with Chai I felt like I got a totally new perspective. Chai sees more than just the god. He sees the man in pain. I feel like he sees him the same way Roan’s past/current love interests (Dee and Dylan to be more specific) did. A powerful force who had his share of faults too.
Speaking of Dee, he has a bigger part in this book. So yay!! He might even be finding his love interest so that made me happy. Scott and Grey are present but I wished for more of them. It seems like Scott and Holden’s on again/off again isn’t over yet. There are definite feelings there. A lot of reflection on Scott’s part. Knowing that his love wouldn’t stop Holden from being a vigilante and whether or not he could live with that. I know for me, I want to see Holden tempered. I don’t know if that is asking something impossible and if like Scott I need to either accept it or give up but I still can’t help hoping that the right person or situation will come along and make him want to live for a better future and not for a present of making people pay. There is so much I love about Holden and I honestly feel pain that he isn’t in a good place. Or at least what I consider a good place, so take that for what you will.
So lets get down to the plot of the book now that I’ve rambled on about the characters. There are some really good mysteries here. A missing acquaintance of Holden’s and a string of strange new crimes in the Jungle, the unsavory homeless/drug dealing section of the city. One was solved the way I wanted, with the law handling the guilty. The other problem was solved, and the guilty won’t be doing what they did again. I kind of hoped the law would handle the problem but that would be in a perfect world. And it’s not a perfect world. It’s obvious from this book. I feel differently about this series than I did the first Infected series. It’s darkness does make me pause, and it makes me think a lot more about the characters and the reason for their actions. (As if that’s not obvious from my long review.) I also know that I can’t wait to see what happens next for Holden and Scott, for Chai, for Dee, or for Dylan and Roan even if they don’t make another physical appearance in the book. The author does have me wrapped up in these characters and I would recommend reading this book and the whole series.
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.