Clean is the first book in Alex Hughes’s Mindspace Investigations Novels. This story line brings two of my favorite genres together-urban fantasy and detective novels. It’s also post-apocalyptic-ish, with most of the western world afraid to use networked computing technology due to the mysterious “Tech Wars.” Psychics, telepaths, telekinetics, teleporters, and people who can do other things with their mindpowers exist. The most powerful belong to the organization known as the Telepath’s Guild.
The protagonist of Clean is nameless up until the very last page of the novel (something I actually didn’t realize until the end of the novel—well played Ms. Hughes, well played!), so I won’t give it away here. Our illustrious hero is a powerful telepath who is a former member of The Guild, in fact he was an accomplished professor until he got kicked out due to his drug habit. Now he’s three years clean and working for the Atlanta Police Department as a consultant. He may be clean, but it doesn’t stop the incessant cravings for Satin-his drug of choice.
Together with Detective Isabella Cherabino, he is assigned to a case involving a serial killer who is literally frying people’s brains with some sort of telepathy. Things heat up when the hero has a precognizant vision that shows that he’s next on the killer’s list.
Clean is exciting and fast-paced, but it also deep and complex. The book itself is a fast read, but the story will leave you thinking for days.