Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Clean by Alex Hughes

Title: Clean
Author: Alex Hughes
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Mindspace Investigations #1

Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages

Publication: September 4, 2012 by ROC

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I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars. My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it—real scary. Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city—and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die.

Clean is the first book in the Mindspace Investigation series narrated by a nameless level 8 telepath. Our protagonist was the top of his class at the Guild, and went on to become a professor teaching other people with abilities doing what many cannot…teaching not only 1-2 students but a class of 200 (piggy-backing off his mind) how to construct/deconstruct the mind. That eventually all changed when our protagonist started abusing drugs (satin) which got him kicked out of the Guild. He now works as a consultant/interrogator for the police; just making enough for his basic essentials like shelter, food and clothing (the department handles his paychecks to make sure he doesn’t use it on drugs). Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer targeting people in Atlanta and Homicide detective Cherabino thinks he can help her figure who the killer is. Together they race against the clock to find this telepath/teleport killer before he strikes again because he knows they’re catching up to him…and the only way to get them off his tail is to hit them first. Our protagonist knows exactly how dire the situation is because he has visions of the future and it’s of him and Cheriabino who are the next to die.

The world of Clean was really fascinating, a futuristic world but still with old world stuff. It’s been 50 years since the Tech Wars (where technology couldn’t be trusted anymore going against humans, and killing people by messing up with chips in the mind…not much is said about the tech wars) and since everyone is mostly scared of what happened in the past with technology/computers; people have resorted back to the pen and paper method to keep records. Not everything is old though, there are air-cars, artificial organs, bio-engineered drugs and Mindspace itself which is tricky to explain since I’m still a little confuse about it. Hughes did a great job on the world building, explaining everything to the readers without throwing a bunch of information down but little by little throughout the book. Clean is an introduction to the series, so while not everything is explained in perfect detail, I’m sure we’ll learn more in the following book. Our main hero and heroine of the novel were both well developed and flawed which I like. It makes them more realistic battling with their own personal demons.

Clean is a great addition to the science fiction genre (a little bit UF with the abilities), it has everything you want in a novel; a dark and gritty setting, unique world building, well fleshed out characters you want to root for and a plot full of actions with surprises you won’t see coming. I love the main murder mystery of the book, and all the police procedure/Mindspace aspects. I am looking forward to see what Hughes has in store for our protagonist and the world of Mindspace, definitely a series not to be missed. I highly recommend this series to all sci-fi, UF and maybe even those who don’t usually read within these genres.

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