Infected: Holden, by Andrea Speed
Series: Mean Streets, Book One
Part of the Infected Universe
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
With his friend lion shifter Roan McKichan no longer in the picture, former sex worker Holden Krause is now working as a detective investigating cases in Seattle. When he receives a request to investigate a rather unusual case for Big Mike, a local drug dealer, he ignores the potential hazards in working for such a client and takes it on.
But Holden hasn’t given up his vigilante ways, occasionally seeking violent retribution for those ignored by the justice system. There’s a man stalking the streets, assaulting anyone he perceives to be trans or gender nonconforming in any way. When the brutality escalates, the case becomes personal for Holden.
If he cannot juggle being both a detective and a vigilante, his taste for blood and danger might finally catch up with him.
Queer Characters (Gay, Bi)
Part of a Series
Infected: Holden, or as I like to call it, Everybody Misses Roan, is an excellent start to the Mean Streets series. I will admit that this is a huge relief because I had some rather trifling concerns that Holden *might* not be able to shoulder the responsibility of carrying on in Roan’s absence.
I needn’t have worried.
Not only does Holden step up admirably to fill some rather big shoes, he doesn’t have do it alone. Infected: Holden sees the return of a few of the side characters we grew to love in the previous Infected books, and we are introduced to a new one who makes a fine addition to the collection of Roan’s former groupies, er, friends.
Although Roan is still a part of this book, it’s only peripherally, providing long-distance phone support to Holden when he is hired by a local crime lord to locate the man’s birth father. But he’s never far from anyone’s mind. That fact becomes almost a running gag throughout the book and would make a great drinking game: one shot for every time someone sighs and says they miss Roan. Cheers!
As with the other books in the Infected series, the POV switches between characters, mostly between Holden, Scott and newcomer Chai. The author always makes it clear whose voice we’re hearing and having both Holden and Scott’s POV is particularly helpful as they’re struggling with their feelings regarding their relationship. When Scott accuses Holden of being emotionally deficient, it’s only through Holden’s POV do we get see how untrue that is. Holden cares but he is remorseless and relentless when it matters. Never more so when he comes face to face with the person responsible for increasingly violent attacks on local trans people
While I have absolutely loved the shifter aspect of the Infected series, this book is more about relationships and connections. Roan has left a gaping hole in the lives of his odd group of friends, especially Holden, and a large part of this book is about Holden’s attempt to figure out his place in the world. Does he want to be a PI? A rent boy? A vigilante? All three? This is Holden’s journey and I’m keen to see what Andrea Speed has in store for him.
Word of caution: this book doesn’t read like book 9 of Infected. While populated by most of the same characters, Infected: Holden definitely has a different vibe. It’s a little darker, especially without the romantic backdrop of Roan’s relationship with Dylan, but I don’t think the story suffers because of that. There are still the same classic one-liners and pop culture references we’ve come to expect, but there is a melancholic air about it and a sense that there is a changing of the guard on the streets. Roan is missed – terribly – but others will rise up in his absence. How that happens is yet to be played out, but I’m excited to see where this goes.
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!
You can purchase Infected: Holden from:
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.