This is the first book of Andrea Speed’s that I read and it is a case of love at first read. Infected Prey includes the first two books in this series and what a fabulous introduction to this author.
The world created here is one in which a werecat virus has spread much like HIV through society and governments are struggling to deal with it much like they did with AIDS in the initial stages of discovery and scientific research. At this time, there is no idea how this blood born pathogen came into being although it is suggested that the government might have something to do with it. Again, much like HIV, some are born with it (virus children) and some are infected, whether by accident (transfusions) or intention (attacks or choice).
Roan McKichan was born an infected child. Now grown, he is a ex-cop and P.I. The years of growing up unwanted and in abusive foster homes, have left him wary, cynical, and isolated. His partner, Paris Lehane, is a Infected by malevolent intent and carries the rare Tiger strain. Paris is the only one that Roan lets get close to him physically and more importantly, emotionally. The heart of this book is the relationship between these two men, both incredibly different and yet deeply in love with each other. Two unique voices that leap off the page and demand your attention.
In Andrea Speed’s world, shifting from one species to another is not an easy matter. In fact, it’s painful, debilitating, and in some cases lethal. Those Infected are caged during their change for society’s protection, whether it is cages at home supplied by the State or at the Police Station in a special ward. Still, there are some who wish to be Infected themselves and the Church of the Divine Transformation draws those individuals like flies to raw meat. And someone is killing them.
Hired by the head of the Church to find the killer, Roan and his lover, Paris, struggle to find the killer while dealing with the dynamics of their relationship, their health problems, and the fact that Roan is changing in ways neither man can grasp.
Intense, sometimes funny, and always addictive. Here is Roan in a mall store trying to get information from a clerk:
Roan: “I’m a cat, yeah. I’m a virus child.”
“Really?” Her eyes were shining now. He was another boring adult when he walked in, but now he was suddenly exotic and appealing. “Cool.” He thought of Paris’s breaking bones, and wanted to backhand her across the face.”
Short, succinct, and telling.
There are more in this series, four published and another on the way.
I give this a 4.5 and am on my way to starting the second book, Infected Bloodlines, that looks to be a heartbreaker. I’ll let you all know what I find.
But in the meantime, pick this one up. Let me know what you think. I think you will love it.
Speed, Andrea. Infected Prey (Kindle Locations 1678-1682). Dreamspinner Press.
The murder of a former cop draws Roan into an odd case where an unidentifiable species of cat appears to be showing an unusual level of intelligence. He juggles that with trying to find a missing teenage boy, who, unbeknownst to his parents, was “cat” obsessed. And when someone is brutally murdering infecteds, Eli Winters, leader of the Church of the Divine Transformation, hires Roan to find the killer before he closes in on Eli.
Working the crimes will lead Roan through a maze of hate, personal grudges, and mortal danger. With help from his tiger-strain infected partner, Paris Lehane, he does his best to survive in a world that hates and fears their kind… and occasionally worships them.”