Infected Life After Death is the third book in Andrea Speed’s Infected series, which has been reissued by DSP Publications. The third book, as with the first two, is broken into two parts – each with separate investigations adding to the overall story. In order to really appreciate this book, it is important to have read the first two. Readers of the previous books will understand just how significant the title Infected Life After Death is and what it means for the main character, Roan.
The third book in the Infected series picks up a year-and-a-half after the death of Roan’s husband, Paris, from the Tiger strain of the virus. Although the worst of his mourning period has passed, Roan is struggling to move forward, and his friends are determined to help him. They believe the best way to do so is to take on a new case. When Roan does throw himself into a new investigation, it seems like exactly what he needs.
The latest investigation, of a dead man who may not actually be dead, brings some interesting people into Roan’s life. These people include a street hustler and a dominatrix. This latest case gives Roan a sense of determination because in order to save someone else, he must be able to save himself. Loose ends from previous books also get tied up and new story lines emerge.
Within Infected Life After Death, Andrea Speed expertly showcases all the mundane aspects of living life after the loss of a loved one. Roan is dealing with a loss and in order to work through it, the author has included flashbacks, memories and even internal ramblings from Roan that really give the reader a chance to grieve with the character. The other major aspect of all of the books is that Roan is still learning new things about his own infected status. As a child of the virus, Roan is different from the other infecteds and he is constantly evolving and changing.
Infected Life After Death continues Roan’s journey into understanding what he and his lion can do. Every day is a struggle with coming to terms with his own infected status on top of his apparent guilt for surviving when his husband did not. Although Paris is no longer living in this particular book, his presence is still felt throughout. Paris has even gone so far as to help find someone new for Roan to be with in life, and while there is no replacing a character like Paris, the author has done an excellent job integrating new characters into the story.
The deeper a reader gets into a world like that of the Infected series, the more one feels attached to the characters. Although much of the story is focused on the investigation and how Roan handles it, the true focus is really on the character himself. While one could get lost in the case itself, a book like Infected Life After Death is a testament to Speed’s ability to write characters that transcend the plot that is pushing the story forward. Every single book in the series has a new investigation, but it is the virus and Roan that take center stage to really become the nexus of the overall story.
Review by Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Derek Keats – Flickr License