Here is the reason I have not posted in a few days – it kept me that involved. Life After Death is like a fine Cabernet, my favorite wine. Deep, full bodied, multi-layered and appropriately, the color of blood. It is to be sipped and savored, not swallowed in one gulp. So I took my time and finished it over several days. What a treasure!
Life After Death is the third book in the Infected series and, in my opinion, the strongest yet to date. Sometimes with a series, it loses momentum after the first book or two. Not so with the Infected stories. With Infected Life After Death, the story of Roan McKitchen grows in power and in depth.
As the story opens, Paris Lehane has been dead a year but for Roan McKitchen it might as well been one hour ago. Roan has retreated into depression and denial, rarely leaving his home, unable to deal with the loss of Paris. Only the support of friends who pay his bills and force him to eat has kept him alive. Roan is coasting along, full of pain and survivor’s guilt, until a case of a missing husband forces him back into the real world.
The real beauty of this story lies in the fact that the character of Paris Lehane was so real and so loved that here you grieve with Roan. The author pulls you through all the stages of grief as Roan lives them. When Roan is unable to cope with this monumental loss, it’s your loss as well. His tears are yours too. Keep that tissue box handy. As Roan gets wrapped up in the mystery of the missing spouse (and a wife’s grief), all too briefly you forget that Paris is gone and involve yourself in the case too. Until a song or a memory makes Paris’ death real again to Roan and the reader. The story keeps you on a rollercoaster of emotions along with Roan as the case gets more complicated, forcing Roan back to the living as he searches for answers.
The second part of the book takes place two years after Paris’ death. I loved that, for once, the fact that death and loss does not get better with time is addressed. Too often in life (no matter whether it is a story or not), people assume that grief has a time limitation on it, like a parking meter or a bakery good. You don’t get over something this traumatic, you just learn to deal with it better. And here Roan is trying to move forward while learning this basic truth. New characters come into his life that I just loved, such as a software executive with a surprising new job and a old acquaintance called Holden Fox who is as complicated as he is gorgeous. I can’t wait for their next appearance.
This series is full of mysteries, and not just the cases Roan takes on. There is the mystery of how the werecat virus was born. And why Roan is getting stronger as he ages while the other cats, like Paris, grow weaker and sicken. Plus the politics of being infected is always present much like Aids was in the 80’s and 90’s. The series and this book has so many layers that each time you read it, you make new discoveries. I love Roan’s voice. If the dialog here were a song, it would be on autoplay in my home. Roan McKitchen has the ability to make me laugh, and cry and snort in disbelief. He is as real to me as my neighbor next door. That is both a talent and a gift. Andrea Speed has both.
If you are looking for a book full of hot sex only, this is not that story. But if you are looking for a story of love, loss, and full of characters so real that they breathe, this book and this series is for you. I have one more published book to go….Infected Freefall, the fourth in the series. I think I am going to try and wait a week to get and start that one. I just don’t want to be finished yet. Luckily, Andrea Speed is working on book 5. So the end is not in sight. Lucky for all of us.
My rating is 5 stars.
Publisher Note: My ebook had formatting problems. At the end of each chapter was the notation to return to the table of contents. And sometimes the chapters started in the middle of the page. I have not had this happen before so I am not sure if it was just my copy or all the ebook copies. But that was the only jarring note here and unusual for this publisher.
But when your heart is gone, it’s easy to fall into a black hole and never crawl out. Roan has been lost and alone for more than a year, and his best friends think a new case might be just the motivation he needs. Roan forces himself back into the game and discovers a dead man who might not be all that dead, a street hustler that wants to hustle him, and a dominatrix who is well prepared to take Roan’s orders. As Roan claws his way out of the darkness by diving back into his work, he finds himself in a race against time in the adrenaline-pumping realization that nothing helps a person want to live like helping someone else survive.
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, All Romance, Amazon and Fictionwise in multiple formats.