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In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective solving crimes involving other infecteds.
Tiger strain infections start showing up all over Seattle, much to Roan’s dismay, and worse yet, they may have a personal connection. Meanwhile, Roan gets hired to look into the puzzling death of Dee’s former lover. Then the FBI wants him to investigate a new apocalypse cult of infecteds pushing for a violent revolution against normals. All around Roan, events are spiraling out of control. Just when his singular abilities are needed most, Roan develops new symptoms that might signify dire consequences if he doesn’t stop shifting at will. Roan finds himself at a crossroads and must make a difficult decision about his future.
First of all, this book is not a stand-alone. Coming in as book #8 in Andrea Speed’s “Infected” urban fantasy series, you need to start from book #1 to keep up with what has been going on with Roan, Holden, Dylan, and the gang. Because of that this review will be spoiler-y in nature, so I apologize in advance. Better back away if you don’t want to be spoiled.
As in the previous books, Epitaph consists of two parts. Part 1 is entitled “Epitaph” – in here Roan is handling three cases (sort of) at the same time. His ex-lover, Dee, is requesting Roan take a further look into the death of one of Dee’s hook-ups (the man committed suicide, but Dee wants to know the reason). Then a mother asks Roan to take a look into her missing daughter, who runs away with a ‘perverted infected’. Last, there are tiger-infecteds on the loose (from Paris’s blood) which makes Roan so angry.
Part 2 is entitled “Revolution” in which Roan is asked by a teenager to look for her missing sister, requested by the FBI to investigate Omega – a new apocalypse cult, while at the same time dealing with further progress of his downward-spiraling health. The verdict from Dr. Rosenberg is that Roan needs to stop shifting so much in order to control his lion from taking over his human part.
Okay, now, review … gosh, how can I sum up my feelings?? This book has been said to be the final one of this series. There IS a Holden spin-off in the horizon … and Andrea won’t confirmed whether Roan may or may not have a cameo there (that woman is such a tease!). So for me, I may or may not see Roan again, but this is still an end of an arc.
It has been a long and winded road for me as a reader – and Roan as character – to reach the end. We had the ups and downs, the joy and the heartbreak, losing loved one, but then gaining another one to love as well as dedicated-loyal-weirdo friends along the way (Roan was probably the only anti-hero I know that had his own hockey team as groupies *lol*). Some story-lines might not have been perfect, there were times that I felt the mysteries became over-shadowed by Roan’s health issues. Then Roan’s health problems and Holden’s penchant for nudging Roan to become the superhero might be repetitive in some books. But overall, this series has been solid from the start and it always felt like coming home to great casts whenever I read a new “Infected” story.
And this last book is just near perfect.
I thought the second part – “Revolution” – was stronger than part 1 (I still gave part 1 a solid 4* but I loved the second part better – thus the near perfect rating). Andrea masterfully foreshadowed what would be the answer to Roan’s health issues and what would happen to Roan and Dylan at the end of the book. To me, the way that Andrea ended this book was satisfying because it gave closure to Roan’s adventure, but at the same time opened a big door for Holden, his vigilante cause, his denial over his “relationship” with Scott, and well, Holden’s own spin-off story.
So in the end, until a new adventure is written, I can only raise my glass and toast Andrea Speed and her “Infected” gang. Here’s to you, Roan McKichan … thanks for the adventure, you awesome bastard! I sure as hell am going to miss you a lot.
PS: This edition offers a glimpse of the prequel coming in February 2015, about Paris (Roan’s first tiger husband). But I refused to read it because I wanted to savor that prequel in all its glory without ‘tasting the sample’ first.