I have been mostly comfort reading this week – sometimes you just gotta – but I have dipped into a couple of books whose authors were new to me though I have seen them both around the social media sites.
First of all I tried Infected: Prey by Andrea Speed. I’ve followed Andrea for a while on Twitter and was impressed by her ready wit and good humour. I have no idea why I’d never picked up one of her books before. I guess there are just so MANY new releases – there must be hundreds each week now. Anyhow, I’m very glad I bought this one.
The Infected series is an exciting combination of the type of hard boiled PI genre fiction that I love with an interesting take on shape shifters. In this world all shifters are varieties of cat and the ability, or rather affliction, is passed on in the form of a virus. Rarely a child is born already infected and such a one is Roan, the main protagonist of the series. An ex-cop, caustic, sharp tongued and cynical, his toughness is nicely balanced by the softer more manipulative approach of his business partner and lover Paris. However, Paris is also infected but with the deadly tiger strain of the virus and he is a man for whom the clock is ticking.
In addition to the romance sub plot [or can one call it a romance when a couple are already established?] there’s an edgy plot about a shifter committing a series of gruesome murders that may or may not be connected with a very shady cult celebrating the infection and those infected. As the story progresses Roan’s own infection begins to show in surprising ways that bode very well for the next books in the series and Paris’s physical condition complicates their relationship.
My second new experience was Sarge by Bey Deckard.
Now this might seem an odd choice for me because the book is advertised as being unashamedly erotic, with a sizeable dose of kink to boot, and that sort of thing tends to whizz over my head leaving me a bit puzzled what all the fuss was about, but Holy Moly this book was good!
It had plot pace and great world building, and superb characters inhabiting an increasingly untenable situation. I just love military stories, in space or out of it, futuristic or historical, and this won my heart right from the first paragraph where a gory and gruesome wound is suffered by one protagonist and treated by the other. The connection between hard as nails Sarge and Murphy, his apparently slow and thuggish but actually sensitive subordinate plays out against a war that probably can’t be won, though not for want of trying. That the relationship is expressed through a quasi-BDSM series of encounters where Sarge teases, humiliates and uses Murphy seems perfectly reasonable within the context of their situation and is actually depicted in very touching terms. The author himself describes it, perhaps snarkily, as “When you get down to it, it’s a sweet love story” but I found it to be far more than that and hope that the sequel will be available soon.