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Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel (edition 2012)

by Alex Hughes

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1371087,614 (3.6)6
Member:darkpurpose
Title:Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel
Authors:Alex Hughes
Info:Roc (2012), Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
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Clean by Alex Hughes

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Clean reminds me of [b:Unshapely Things|388793|Unshapely Things (Connor Grey, #1)|Mark Del Franco|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309138300s/388793.jpg|378412]: the main character, a telepath, is damaged (an addict in this case, a loss of ability in Unshapely Things), who got kicked out of the Guild (people with abilities in this book, Fae in Unshapely Things) and who is now working for the police as a consultant.
I didn't get the character's name until the very end - the last two lines of the book. It's Adam. Weird. When I've read those lines, my first though was "Who's Adam?"



( )
  Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
I had read a sample of this and really liked it so marketing score for Roc. Of course once I had it, getting around to reading it took some time. I liked the setting with a future Atlanta but no real in your face tech changes due to a cyber war that has everyone very distrustful of computers and the internet. The plot is a stand mystery with the bonus of instead of a PI you have a consultant working with the police. We are far enough into the future that there is a Telepath Guild and our trusty consultant has been thrown out of for being a drug addict. If you like SF mysteries than run out and get this. Bonus is book two just came out so I will be reading that soon. And crossing fingers I should have some signed copies of the series available in a few weeks. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
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 |
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To Paula Gillispie and Julie Gray, because I promised.  To Dan Marshall, because he deserves it.
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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.
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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" -- p. [4] of cover.… (more)

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