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.
The murder of a former cop draws Roan into an odd case where an unidentifiable species of cat appears to be showing an unusual level of intelligence. He juggles that with trying to find a missing teenage boy, who, unbeknownst to his parents, was “cat” obsessed. And when someone is brutally murdering infecteds, Eli Winters, leader of the Church of the Divine Transformation, hires Roan to find the killer before he closes in on Eli.
Working the crimes will lead Roan through a maze of hate, personal grudges, and mortal danger. With help from his tiger-strain infected partner, Paris Lehane, he does his best to survive in a world that hates and fears their kind… and occasionally worships them.
~ Bewitching BT
Hank DeSilvo scowled and looked out the window over the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes. He could see nothing but darkness, and maybe a bit of reflected light from the television. This was probably a bad time to remember the back porch light had blown out two days ago, and he’d forgotten to replace it.
Not that it mattered. The only light currently in the house was coming from the television, and as long as he ignored it, he developed enough night vision to make out a shape moving in the back garden. Or was it the wind moving a shrub? Kind of hard to say.
He slammed his can down with an annoyed grunt. It was probably the Hindles’ stupid ass dog again, shitting all over the place and tearing through his garbage. He hated that fucking thing, some ugly Rottweiler mix they insisted was a “friendly” dog, and yet it always had a look in its flat, black eyes that was just this side of rabid. They never leashed the damn thing either, and apparently his yard destruction was “cute.” He was just about out of this fucking place and that damn thing had to make a final appearance. And it was final all right; he was going to make damn sure of that.
He went back to the living room, glancing at the game as he walked past—it was a fucking damn boring game anyway—and got his shotgun from the cabinet. It was illegal as all hell, a sawed-off thirty ought six with the barrels cut so short you could have stowed it under a jacket, but the barrels had been filed down expertly; it wasn’t just the rough work of a desperate amateur but the sign of a pro. Which was why, when they’d searched the drug mule’s truck and he’d found it wedged under the front seat, he hid it in his trunk and didn’t report finding it. It wouldn’t have added that much to the mule’s sentence; he already had enough rock in his glove compartment to put him away for the rest of his pointless life, especially if it was his “third strike” (and it was, no surprise there), and he doubted the guy was so stupid that he’d actually ask why he wasn’t charged with owning an illegally modified weapon. Yeah, he was dumb; you had to be dumb if you were speeding and had a few thousand in rock in the car, as well as being obviously stoned yourself. But asking after that was a special kind of stupid, the kind only politicians and people on reality television ever seemed to crest.
He cracked open the gun and made sure he had some shells loaded in it before snapping it shut again with a sharp flick of his wrist. Man that felt good. This was a real man’s weapon, made him feel a foot taller and made of pure muscle, and he knew why that meth fuckhead was carrying it around with him. A weapon like this was a real god-killer; it made you feel invincible.
It was pure overkill, of course. The Hindles’ dog was fairly big, and yet one shot from this gun would rip it in half clean down the middle, as well as make a boom loud enough to set off every car alarm on the block. But what the fuck did he care? He was an ex-cop; he’d say the dog charged him, and on his property he could shoot the fucking thing if he wanted. He’d swap out the sawed-off for his Remington before they arrived. Ballistics wouldn’t match, but by the time they proved that, he’d be long gone. Good-bye, shit-hole city; hello, tropical paradise. It was just a shame that it took him this long to collect.
He stood at the back door for a moment, cradling the shotgun gently, and let his eyes get adjusted to the dark before going out onto the concrete patio. He had a mini Maglite with him with a red lens over the bulb, so if there was something he needed to see he could twist it on without losing his night vision. Not that he needed to make a direct hit; even if he just winged the dog, he’d probably rip half its face off, maybe a leg.
First step off the patio his foot squelched in something; it felt too liquid to be shit, but the smell that hit him was meaty, redolent of shit and offal and God knew what else. Had that fucking dog already strewn his garbage about? Goddamn it.
Holding the shotgun in one arm, he turned on the flashlight and looked down at what he’d stepped in.
At first it looked like a puddle, which didn’t make sense since it hadn’t rained in a week, and the thought that it was dog piss was dismissed since it was dark, and dog piss wasn’t usually black. Or was that red-black? Swinging the light outwards, he saw greasy, ropey strands that couldn’t have come from his garbage can, and then a big hunk of raw, bloody meat like a lamb shank… only it was too long and thin to be a shank, too dark, and ended in a paw.
It was a Rottweiler leg.
Someone—something—had dismembered the Hindles’ psychotic dog and spread about a third of it all over his backyard. He saw the leg, which was the biggest piece, an assortment of internal organs, loops of intestines laid out like fallen party streamers, and lots of blood. But where was the other two thirds of the dog?
The hair stood up on the back of his neck, and he knew he had to get the fuck inside now. But as he turned, shotgun at the ready and braced against his hip, he saw the flash of white teeth in the dim moonlight, and his brain sent out the impulse to pull the trigger.
He didn’t have time to wonder why it never happened as the teeth ripped open his throat.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it?
This was a story I wanted to read. So I wrote it.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist?
I wish I knew. He just kind of showed up, fully formed, in my head. What about your antagonist? I wondered what would happen if you had an opportunity to turn a supposed problem into a weapon.
4. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
My problem is my writer’s block is usually the result of depression, which I have tried to manage, but it’s not always super cooperative. My advice for others is, if you’re having a problem writing, write something else. A review, a blog post, fan fiction, I don’t care. Just write. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best way to get past it is to go through it.
5. Your all time favorite book?
That’s a really difficult question. Hard for me to pick one. The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy?
6. What made you pick that one above all others?
It’s really informed my life and writing in a way few other books have.
7. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
Hard to say. Maybe a year and a half?
8. Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
I’m not sure it has. I’m still the half-mopey/ half-weird wallflower I’ve always been.
9. Was there ever a time, during your work for the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
Not this one, no. The Infected books in general are very easy for me to write. They pretty much write themselves.
10. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
Chaos, and then some writing. Sometimes both at once. I’m a home health care worker, so I feel I should be used to it.
11. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
I try not to read reviews, because I don’t have the ego integrity to be unmoved by it. So my strategy is pure avoidance, and it works for me.
12. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
Infected: Prey is the first in the entire Infected series. While we’re introduced to the main characters and important places in the series, as it goes on, that universe expands. It comes to an end at Infected: Epitaph. From there to here, you’re treated to mysteries, dark humor, some angst, action sequences, perhaps a smidgen of horror, and a character study, as well as a soupcon of superheroism. I hope it all adds up to a good time for the readers.
13. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
I’m still working on a supervillain story, that I hope to finish this year, and the Holden spin-off of the Infected series. I have a lot of stories on the back burner, including this horror/fantasy story I want to do. We’ll see how far I get on that.
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
I am the all powerful ruler of Earth, and can’t deposed for any reason. Saddle up, buckos!
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
A DIY for people stranded on isolated islands.
3. Name your favorite fruit.
This is actually tough, but I’m going to say mango.
4. Coffee or tea?
5. Favorite season?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours?
Two in the morning.
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
8. Favorite food for breakfast?
I am a sucker for most breakfast sandwiches and burritos. I at least have to try every one I come across.
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read?
Bob Odenkirk’s A Load of Hooey. Fun read.
10. Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
I do have a small collection of Wolverine (the comic character) things.
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
A vibrant, garish red.
12. Drama or comedy?
Depends on my mood, but … comedy.
13. Have a fav quote or personal motto?
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. (Hunter S. Thompson) Also, pretty much the all of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
14. Cats or dogs?
You have to ask? Cats.
15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Let’s see the club.
About the Author & Links:
Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!