Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel by…

Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel (edition 2012)

by Alex Hughes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1138106,139 (3.66)4
Title:Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel
Authors:Alex Hughes
Info:Roc (2012), Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel by Alex Hughes



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A deeply-flawed, drug addicted telepath acts as a police consultant to help bring down a serial killer. The stakes are raised when a vision puts him in the killer’s path. Can he bring down this murderous monster or will his premonition come sooner than expected?

I received a review copy from the author in exchange for a fair review.

Alex Hughes has crafted a compelling universe for her characters to play in. A self-admitted cop show junkie, Hughes mashed her love of police procedurals together with speculative fiction to create Clean, the first novel in her Mindspace Investigation series. The story picks up sixty years after the devastating Tech Wars, an event fought with computer viruses and self-aware machines. If it wasn’t for the psychic powered force known as The Guild, we’d all probably end up like Neo, floating in a pink sack powering our mechanical masters.

Where Hughes’ talent truly lies is in her world building. She’s clearly put a lot of time and effort into constructing the Atlanta of tomorrow. The scenes in which characters descend into Mindspace – a tool used by telepaths to detect changes and abnormalities in our environment undetectable by us normies – were fascinating and easy to grasp (fishbowl analogy was excellent). Given the events of the Tech Wars, the US government has scaled back its overwhelming reliance on technology. Heavy filtering procedures are in force when sending emails, net access is limited and hard copies are once again essential when it comes to paperwork. It’s not often you read a novel based in the future featuring flying cars but with reduced levels of technology.

Hughes mirrored a lot of the great hard-boiled protagonists by saddling the telepath with an addiction – a narcotic dubbed Satin – he cannot easily overcome. Knowing he’s only one mistake away from finding himself out on his ass, it leads to some intense scenes where he’s teetering on the edge without much to keep him grounded. That being said, the only real constant in his life is Swartz, his addiction sponsor, who is determined to keep him on the straight and narrow. While their interactions are minimal, their importance keeps the story moving forward. I would’ve actually liked a little more between the two.

Aside from his feelings for his partner Isabella Cherabino, he doesn’t have much going for him. In fact, my only real gripe involves some of the back and forth between the two. There’s clearly some chemistry there, but I found the telepath came across as whiny or annoying when he pined for her. I’m not advocating for the roles to be reversed – I’d dislike it either way – I guess I just wanted less romance; something that while not overwhelming, disrupted the flow of the story.

I’m very interested to see where this goes from here. Luckily for me, I’ve got the sequel on deck!

**Sidenote** The telepath does indeed have a name but it’s being withheld in this review as it would spoil one of the strongest moments in the novel.

Check out my interview with Alex. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
This story grabbed me from the start, with a protagonist who is not only skilled - highly trained in telepathy - but is also a recovering addict. An addict who struggles every day with his addiction, while he tries not to lose his job. And throughout, he tries to do the right thing, even when he has to swallow his pride. A great balance for a dark hero. The world of this story is intriguing, and I appreciate how the author reveals it gradually, as the story unfolds. It's a world dealing with repercussions of a war with technology -- pencil and paper are now common tools -- but yes, there are flying cars! A unique world that continually fascinates.

As the main character follows the evidence, he's taken deeper into his past. He has to call on the help of those who trained him then kicked him out. When he finds that the crimes involve telepaths and teleporters, he faces more suspicion than the usual he gets from all those who don't trust the telepaths. He constantly faces choices between what he wants and what he needs. He makes mistakes, but tries to rectify them. You can't help rooting for the guy, even when he's messing up.

I've fascinated by this character and this world. Immediately moving on to the next book in the series. I just hope there are more to come. ( )
  monica67 | Nov 9, 2013 |
I don't use star ratings, so please read my review!

(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“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.”

When I first picked up this novel, I thought it was going to be a case of an unlikeable narrator and that the main thing I’d need to be watching for was whether or not the author made me like him in spite of his issues. That’s not quite the case here. The main character (unnamed until the last page of the book) is no longer using drugs, and he’s more than two years clean, but he still craves a fix through most of the book. The author keeps this from being too intrusive by making it clear that the case he’s working on is stressing him to the utmost, which is the kind of situation sure to test the resolve of any addict.

I found the relationship between the main character and Detective Cherabino to be one of the more interesting and unusual ones that I’ve seen. A lot of this is because readers aren’t coming into the relationship on the ground floor; it’s stated in the story that the two have known each other for at least five years. While it’s odd to not see the development of a relationship that’s so central to the story, it’s also a refreshing change to see a pair that doesn’t fall head over heels for each other after only knowing each other for a few days. These two have a history, and even though we haven’t seen that history for ourselves, it’s easy to see that it’s the foundation for everything in the story.

The worldbuilding is an interesting mix of high-tech and low-tech. They have things like flying cars and computers, but the Tech Wars, which haven’t been gone into in much detail, have made people afraid of technology that’s too complicated. Many functions that used to be taken care of by technology are now overseen by the Guild—the gap left by the Tech Wars is a natural place for a powerful organization to move in and take over, and it doesn’t feel like the Guild is in a place where it wouldn’t naturally be. What I hope to see in future novels is more backstory on where the telepaths came from and how they came to be known to the rest of humanity.

I liked the way police procedure works in this story given the existence of telepaths. The main character is in an interesting position: there’s a lot that he can do to find evidence with his talents, but he’s not trusted due to his past drug use. He does sometimes work with Guild telepaths, and that brings up the chains of evidence and proof that are required. Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about how police gather evidence of crimes, but the mix of real life and fiction in this novel seems plausible to me.

Clean is a novel that delivers a good story and promises to unveil some intriguing mysteries in the future. There’s plenty that’s unique in the intersection of technology and telepathy, and it creates a full and nuanced world. I’m looking forward to the next novel in this series.

This review originally appeared on Owlcat Mountain on April 29, 2013.
1 vote owlcat_mountain | Apr 29, 2013 |
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Guest Reviewer - Tanya C:

Clean by Alex Hughes gets off to a good start right away.

I really enjoyed the way the main male character and Cherabino interacted. I also loved that the storyline mainly focused on solving crimes and that there were so many characters with different talents that involved using their minds.

The amount of suspense had me hooked, and I know that I will be reading more books written by Alex Hughes.

There was also tons of action, and the characters were incredibly well developed; each character had plenty of flaws, which is just one thing that makes for a good book.

LITERAL ADDICTION gives Clean 4 Skulls and would recommend it. ( )
  LITERALADDICTION | Apr 19, 2013 |
This is actually my second time reading Clean but the first time writing it up. I tried this book for the first time shortly after it came out but I wasn’t able to blog about it. But I really liked Clean so I figured it was time to re-read it and actually remember to post about it! So here goes…

Clean is set in a dark, not-terribly-distant future in Atlanta. In the aftermath of the Tech Wars, people don’t trust technology anymore so almost everything is back to the trusted pen-and-paper methodology. The only reason the world survived the Tech Wars? The Telepaths’ Guild stepped up and saved everyone, by being super scary. (Clean doesn’t have a lot of details but I think my imagination did a pretty good job of figuring it out.) As a result, the Guild has the right to self-government but no one trusts them that much. The main character ofClean was a shining star in the Guild until he got hooked on Satin, a fancy drug, and lost his job and was kicked out of the Guild. Now, he works for the local police department with his partner Detective Isabella Cherbino, solving crimes and working the interrogation room, trying to resist the urge to fall back into his addiction. He doesn’t have any friends from his previous life but he’s working hard to make the most of the opportunity he has, even when that means going up against the Guild.

In some ways, the worldbuilding reminded me of the Atlanta we see in the Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews, but I think that’s mostly because both series are set in Atlanta and have some interesting implications for use of technology. In any case, it’s meant to be a complimentary statement, not a negative one.

Hughes populates her world with some great characters, aside from the leading man. I really loved Cherbino. She’s tough, smart, and awesome, and her backstory is really poignant. I loved how we got peeks into her mind thanks to the main character’s telepathy. The other cops are also quite interesting, and I hope we get to know them more in future novels. I was also really intrigued by Kara, a Guild member who we meet partway through the novel. I won’t say too much about her since I don’t want to give away the game but I do hope to learn more about her, and her relationship with our intrepid main character, if that’s possible.

You may have noticed that I keep saying “he” instead of using the main character’s name. Well, that’s because he goes through nearly the entire book without anyone using it and I don’t want to spoil it for you. It’s an interesting way to write and it works because Clean is told from a first-person point of view. But if you’re like me, you’re going to spend a great deal of time wondering just what the heck his name is while you’re going through.

Clean is a fantastic debut novel and and I’m really interested in spending more time in this world. Thankfully, Sharp, the next novel, is right around the corner, and there’s an e-novella called Payoff that’s available now. You can be sure I’ll be on the lookout for how many times the main character’s name is used in this one.

http://ireadgood.wordpress.com ( )
  jthorburn | Mar 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Paula Gillispie and Julie Gray, because I promised.  To Dan Marshall, because he deserves it.
First words
My first interview of the night was Esperanza Mensalez-Mar, a thirty-something woman dressed in a pink-pressed suit I suspected cost more than my last paycheck.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"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" -- p. [4] of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
16 wanted1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.66)
2.5 3
3 11
3.5 1
4 12
5 5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,549,645 books! | Top bar: Always visible