Infected: Throwaways, by Andrea Speed
Series: Mean Streets, Book 2
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Former prostitute and street kid turned private detective Holden Krause is asked to look into the murder of Burn, a black-market dealer, who turns up dead near the infamous homeless encampment known as the Jungle. It’s a place Holden is familiar with—and his memories of it aren’t entirely bad. The settlement has been taken over by sinister people but Holden isn’t afraid to take them on. A big part of his PI gig is cover for his more dangerous vigilante crusade: exacting justice for the people the system ignores, the throwaways—people just like the ones living in the Jungle.
It’s getting harder and harder for Holden’s partner, Chai Nayar, to look the other way while Holden searches out retribution beyond the confines of the law. When one of their associates is shot and Holden realizes—far too late—that he’s in over his head with this case, Chai is left to pick up the pieces and hopefully save their lives. He resorts to the only solution he can find and calls Roan, who is more lethal than ever. Will it be their saving grace, or a fatal mistake?
Queer Characters (Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Asexual)
Roan is back! Roan is back!
I’m not gonna lie – a big part of my excitement for this book was to be reunited with my book boyfriend again. After all, the reason this series exists is because of Roan and while I thought Holden handled himself admirably in the first Mean Streets book, it was still nice to have Roan back, even if it was just for a little while.
I was also looking forward to seeing how Holden was handling his PI gig and his part-time job as urban vigilante. Never one to flinch from the dark side, Holden tends to be less afraid for his own safety than the safety of the vulnerable folk who make up the sex workers, homeless and the otherwise disenfranchised in his neighbourhood. Nevertheless, he still has doubts about his role as an anti-hero
It was kind of ridiculous anyway, wasn’t it? What the fuck did he think he was, the gay Avenger?
I don’t know if we’ll ever understand Holden entirely, but I loved getting glimpses of the circumstances that brought him to where he is today. It will be interesting to see if he ever fully reconciles himself to being the ‘gay Avenger’ and how much influence his friends will have on that decision.
I feel like Holden was a lot more introspective here, not that he’d ever admit to deep thoughts on any subject. But Roan’s continued absence and his almost inevitable break-up with Scott has had an impact on him. He feels a little more vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. Thank goodness, then, he’s got a new partner in Chai.
Getting to know Chai better was a delight. While I think they rely on each other (again, not that Holden would admit to that), Chai brings out Holden’s protective instincts and maybe serves as his conscience – or at least that’s how I perceive it. Plus, I absolutely love Chai and Dee together (what a delightful surprise that was!) and I’m rooting for them and for their HEA.
And then there’s Roan.
He always knows how to make an impression and even though his ferocious reputation proceeds him, the term ‘larger than life’ might be an apt descriptor.
Oh. So this was Roan. Funny, Chai thought he’d be taller.
I don’t think there’s ever been another shifter who has been allowed to appear so strong yet so weak at the same time. Roan is dying. We all know that. And yet he would stop at nothing to protect the people he loves, and when both Kevin and Holden find themselves at the wrong end of a fight, it’s inevitable that Roan would risk everything – even his own life – to seek vengeance.
One thing I have always loved about this series, and about Andrea Speed’s writing in particular, is all the amazing side characters who weave in an out of Roan’s and now Holden’s life. From Dylan and Dee, to Scott and Chai and everyone in between, they bring their own brand of comfort to two men who are unafraid to meet death so long as they can do it on their own terms. I’m not sure this series would have been the same without all those people who make Roan and Holden more humane.
I really enjoyed this book and I definitely like where things are going from here. It’s a little dark and reflective of today’s current political climate but it has enough small moments of levity to stop it from feeling preachy or depressing. Plus, it’s just nice to think there’s at least one person looking out for those who need it most. Holden is definitely the anti-hero we need today.
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 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!
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.