Author: Andrea Speed
Publisher: DSP Publications
Rating: 4.5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: 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.
Roan is working a frustrating stalker case, with no shortage of suspects and little solid evidence, when he comes across a startling eyewitness living in his car across the street from the scene. A tiger-strain infected, the only one Roan’s ever met, Paris Lehane is a former Canadian golden boy who suffered a breakdown after becoming infected in college.
While Roan’s ex, Diego “Dee” Cole, warns against falling for the infected Paris, a man doomed to die, Roan struggles with his attraction and the knowledge that no happily ever after is possible for them.
But is the knowledge enough to discourage him from following his heart? Roan helps Paris out of homelessness, and maybe a special hospital can help Paris with the infection, but Roan’s got his hands full with this case, and there’s no end in sight.
Review: Paris is a prequel to the Infected series. Although it can be read as standalone or without having read the series, it is best read anytime after Bloodlines to fully understand the world, the characters and relationship dynamics.
It is virtually impossible to write a review of this novella and avoid at least heavy hints that I would consider to be a spoiler, so fair warning.
Paris goes back to the beginning of when Roan first met Paris. While investigating the ongoing harassment of his client, PI Roan McKichan encounters a homeless young man, living in a beat up old car, who is witness to an incident involving the case Roan is working on. Inexplicably drawn to the seemingly intelligent, self-deprecating and obviously ill “homeless sad sack”, Roan makes a snap decision to help the intriguing young man who’s smile is so beautiful it takes Roan’s breath away, even in his severely dishevelled state.
Roan is a virus child, one of those who was infected while in the womb by a virus strain that causes its hosts to regularly shift into one of five species of mindless and predatory big cats. Most virus children don’t survive to birth. Even fewer survive much past birth. Roan is unique in that not only did he survive to adulthood, but he didn’t have the extreme problems that other virus children were cursed with. However, as a result of the virus he not only shifts into a lion every few weeks, even in human form Roan possesses the acute hearing and sense of smell of the lion. What his sense of smell told him was that the intriguing Paris was not only homeless but infected with the extremely rare tiger strain. And he was close to the high part of his virus cycle (which is when the shift occurs). Very few infected with the tiger virus ever make it past the first shift and of those who do none last for very long after being infected because the virus wreaks such havoc on their bodies.
Damn, but I love those two together. I managed to get almost half way before tearing up thinking about future events. I’m kind of proud I made it that far! The story itself isn’t sad, although if you’ve read the later books you’ll understand the poignancy behind some of the lines – a reminder of the fragility of life and the illness the Infected are forced to endure until it ultimately gets the better of them. Despite knowing that getting involved could only end in pain with their time together guaranteed to end in heartache, seeing them at the beginning of their love story makes it crystal clear why they would choose to do it anyway. Their connection with each other is as natural as breathing and there is as much an inevitability to their love for each other as there is to their end.
Paris is a good story with solid writing, and I enjoyed it a lot. Like the other books in the series, there is a mystery and there are fantastic characters. I just wish there had been more of Paris. I really wish there had been more of Roan and Paris together. There is such a beautiful chemistry between them, I would have liked to see more of their developing relationship. Paris is without a doubt one of the most memorable, interesting and compelling characters I’ve read. Which is pretty impressive since none of the books he’s in are told from his POV. I wanted to be inside his head a little. I wanted to see Roan and Paris’ love for Roan through his eyes. The book is called Paris, after all.
It may have had an edge of the bittersweet, but it was wonderful getting to spend some time with Paris and Roan again. While this book may have reminded me why I was so devastated after reading Bloodlines, it also reminded me just what draws me to this series and why I love the books I’ve read in it so much. The characters and the world building are both exceptionally well depicted and up there with some of the best Urban Fantasy I’ve read.