Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (340 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 ½ stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

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.

Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.

Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.

With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds —one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.

Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….

Gripping and suspenseful are two words to describe this latest adventure from Ms. Speed. There’s a lot of personal growth going on in this book so fans of the Infected series are sure to find something to pique their interest. The usual hard-edged and stark world that Roan inhabits rears its ugly head and is dealt with in a way unique to the hero. Roan-buffs will not be disappointed. His odd taste in music and T-shirts continues to flavor the tone of the book.

There are a couple of mysteries to solve, and the answers to one case weren’t welcome by the person who hired Roan. Even when the poor guy does his job, he still catches flack. There was another case where it provided hints as to how much the hero is affected by the virus. He’s still evolving and confounding Dr. Rosenburg. Her potty mouth always cracks me up.

There’s a lot of insight with Roan’s internal dialogues. He’s been mentally beating himself up for most of series but this book seems to indicate a resignation point might have been reached. Time will tell if it’s a healthy choice or not. A reader will find his introspection very interesting.

Holden is on scene quite a bit in this book. As much as I like his character and that he experiences some personal growth, much to his dismay, it’s part of an issue – head-hopping. I’m not a fan of it when it breaks up the flow of storytelling and creates a delivery that comes across as choppy. I adore this series, and I’m guilty of wanting to know more and everything and perhaps Ms. Speed was trying to appease everyone by covering all the bases, but I’m not sure the head-hopping format worked this time around. There seemed to be so much ground to cover that depth and emotional connection was sacrificed for expediency. I didn’t get the feeling of substance between Holden and Scott. Roan is the person who interpreted things and informed me of what I was missing. Then there is Dylan. He’s there too and again, seeing things from his point of view didn’t give me a sense of connection. The only one who was consistent and gripping was Roan.

The hockey guys are still around but they are very much in the background, even more so now that Tucker and Grey are off scene. I miss their antics, but like life, circumstances motivate change. There are a couple of surprise cameos from characters in past books and Dee is still giving Roan a hard time while giving him an assist. Inasmuch the hero rubs people the wrong way, Roan has a lot of friends and this book reminds him of that. His surprise at the realization makes me sad for him. He really is a tortured hero.

I liked those few and far between special moments between Roan and Dylan. There is never any ‘in the bedroom’ action – it’s all tender or passionate kisses, depending on the moment, and hugs – the kind of actions that are a balm to the soul when things are rough.

One thing that remains strong and an asset to this series is Ms. Speed’s use of dialogue. It’s always raw, gritty, to the point and filled with cleverness. When there is emotion and vibrancy between characters, the dialogue is key. The author’s use of descriptive imagery is also vivid and powerful. She makes reference to a certain actor’s jaw so I had to Google it. I was tickled by who she referenced. I like that guy but never knew his name!

Infected: Undertow is a must read. Especially if you remember how the previous book ended. At least this one doesn’t leave a reader in shock. No, this time avid curiosity is like a burning flame. What did Roan’s introspection really mean? What’s going to happen with his PI business? And what did those tests reveal about the virus? Who can Roan trust and is he becoming an official superhero? There are so many questions and so many reasons to be on the lookout for the next installment in the series. The next book is going to be an auto-buy for certain. Infected: Undertow is a strong continuation of an amazing series that remains vibrant, engaging and fascinating. I’m a happy reader.

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