Title: Infected: Freefall (Infected #4)
Author: Andrea Speed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Roan McKichan, Dylan Harlow
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Urban Fantasy
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.
Conceived bearing the lion strain of the virus, Roan is the only fully functioning virus child in the country—maybe in the world. But that doesn’t mean he’s okay. He’s still struggling with the death of his husband and the guilt of finding new love; his old enemy, the Church of the Divine Transformation, is becoming increasingly hostile; and he’s taken on a tragic cold case involving a long-missing boy.
As Roan fights to control the lion inside him, his world explodes with all kinds of trouble. The leader of the church is ramping up the violence against him, calling Roan out as a traitor to his kind. There’s a loose Infected terrorizing the city. And Holden, male prostitute and Roan’s unofficial assistant, brings him a case involving the suspicious death of one of Holden’s clients, which puts Roan far too close to a murderer for his state of mind….
Roan McKichan is a man in free fall, his body doing little more than floating along in a gravitational pull between grief over the loss of Paris, and the virus that continues to morph inside him in unexpected ways. He is a man who has jumped from an airplane at fifteen-thousand feet and can’t seem to decide whether it’s worth the effort to pull the ripcord on his parachute. Roan is a man reincarnated—but it seems, at times, he might have forgotten to come back from the dead.
The thumbnail overview of the fourth installment in the Infected series is that Roan’s life is at a turning point, and, honestly, I have no idea where Andrea Speed will take him. Freefall brings the series to an arc in which the focus is on whether Roan can find a reason to keep living, or whether he should just give up and join Paris in the afterlife—and whether his virus would even allow him to do that, as it seems as though it’s becoming its own entity.
Roan’s conflict and the depressive state he currently calls home give this book a rather mournful quality, which works perfectly as a foil to everyone around him—his lover, Dylan; his ex, Dee; his assistant, Fiona; his could-be-good something or other, Holden—who are trying desperately to help a man who isn’t sure he wants to be saved.
Roan is still going through the motions of life, but his private investigating and the cases he accepts in this book take a secondary role to his personal struggle, except for the two instance in which the case and his private life directly intersect; the first being when the Church of the Divine Transformation, the cult that equates the virus with divinity, decides that Roan is a threat that needs to be eliminated; the second being when Holden hires him to investigate the death of a john, which lands Roan in the hospital, for better or for…worse? We shall see.
Freefall leaves some loose threads to be tied up as the series moves forward, not the least of which is what exactly is Roan becoming? And will it be good or bad for him, in the end? Will Dylan be the man who can inspire Roan and convince him that a future is worth fighting for? And how will Holden Krauss fit into the scheme? Makes me wish book #5 was ready to hit the presses, like, yesterday.
In spite of the sense of doom and gloom in this installment, Andrea Speed manages to infuse the story with plenty of her trademark humor—gotta love the fact that, regardless of what Roan is going through, his smartass is always residing somewhere just beneath the surface, maybe somewhere in the neutral zone between the human and the lion. The man truly is a hybrid.
While I can’t say this is my favorite book in the series, to date, I can say that it’s not to be missed.
Reviewed By: Lisa