Title: Lesser Evils
Author: Andrea Speed
Length: 150,486 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal, Horror, Mystery, Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Shifters, Serial Killer, Urban Fantasy, Series
Rating: Really liked it
Reviewed by Sadonna
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read the first five books in this series, information in this review can be considered spoilers. It is not recommended to read this series out of order as each story builds on the previous history of the characters and events.
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.
Until recently, Roan was ahead of the curve when it came to reining in the lion that lives inside him. Now his control is slipping at the worst possible times. A new drug has hit the streets—one that triggers unscheduled changes in infected users. Street hustler Holden Krause gets attacked by one of his clients, then is surprised to find himself involved in an unwanted, unexpected relationship. And a serial killer begins targeting infecteds in their cat form—something that’s 100 percent legal.
To stop the murders, Roan has to work outside the law. But his newfound thirst for violence makes him worry he might be more like the killer than he thought, and his reluctance to talk about it with his husband, Dylan, puts an extra strain on their relationship. So Roan isn’t just fighting the killer and struggling with his mutating virus… he’s trying to save himself.
This latest installment of the starts with a bang and we continue on the usual roller-coaster ride that is the Infected series. If you are not familiar with this series, each of the published books includes two stories/mysteries from Andrea Speed’s serial, but the flow of the stories is not impeded by this format.
Roan is less able to control the lion and he feels like he is becoming a danger to everyone human around him – especially after he accidentally cracks a skull when he attempts to pull his punch. He has recently gotten news from his doctor that the virus is mutating yet again and his physiology is changing in new and unexplainable ways. He confesses the truth to Dylan and Dylan is worried that he is giving up.
The Church of the Divine Transformation approaches Roan about becoming a leader among the Infected which he promptly dismisses. But as the first story/mystery evolves, a new “designer” drug that specifically targets and kills infecteds gets his attention and he begins to think maybe he does need to do something. He is repeatedly called to intervene as the drug continues to crop up in various venues costing both infected and human lives. The race is on to figure out who is making the drug and why and how they are distributing it. It’s so sophisticated even Dr. Rosenberg, Roan’s doctor and an authority on the werevirus can’t figure out how it’s being made. Of course Roan decides to hunt down the drug dealers. As the incidents become more deadly, Roan determines that he can’t just sit on the sidelines.
In the meantime, Holden, his sometimes assistant who is also a high class rent boy has gotten involved with a high profile client who decides to try some rough stuff with him. When Holden informs the client that he won’t tolerate that, he is nearly beaten to death. Needless to say, Roan does not take kindly to this. His method of dealing with the perpetrators scares him – he feels himself becoming less human. Dylan once again tries to convince him he is wrong.
One of the fun aspects of this book is the reappearance of Roan’s hockey team posse. Local minor league players Tank and Scott and Grey and Jeff are around to perform various functions for Roan: getting him out of the hospital and protecting him from bigots, protecting his house, cheering him up when he’s down, and distracting him from the crap that just keeps coming. These guys are a great addition to this series and I hope we continue to see them. We also get treated to/tortured with some more conversations with Paris. These always make me sad but I love that the author includes them as the series continues.
In the second half of this installment, the mystery and pace of the novel and didn’t match the first half for a few chapters. There is a one off rescue with Holden and then a mysterious “missing persons” case that didn’t work for me, but it was shorter section of book. Somehow for me, these pieces felt like they didn’t belong in this book.
The final episode of this volume involves a serial killer who is hunting cats. Unfortunately it’s not really a crime to kill infecteds in their cat form. Roan is appalled by the lack of concern from the police. It seems that they are only “people” in his mind. He decides he will stalk the killer since nobody else is willing to spend any resources try to protect these “undesirables.” Holden is of course involved in this case as well – he has become Roan’s go-to guy. As Roan merges more with the lion he seems to have more trouble controlling his shifts and his health is once again endangered. The cliffhanger of at the end of this book is making me anxious about the next one (which has been contracted, but does not have a release date).
This is one of my favorite series because of the characters. In case you haven’t realized it yet, I have a particular affinity for really f*ed up characters and Roan is certainly one of the best the genre. He’s fighting against everything in his life, but mostly himself. His “family” of loved ones and friends keeps pulling him back from brink when he sinks too low. Each book is an emotional ride, so be warned if you are considering diving into this series. The pool is deep, but worth it.