Friday, May 3, 2013

Clean by Alex Hughes - review

Alex Hughes
Mindspace Investigations #1
Sept 2012

cover - I want to see his FACE.  I don't know why, really - I am rarely satisfied with the faces of men pictured on most novels.  I want them to have some five o'clock shadow, or at least a little facial hair (no porn-star mustaches, though - please).  I also prefer some hair...Usually the men on book covers are way to clean cut....but back to THIS cover. I like the cover.  The atmosphere is good; the buildings, the sky....the mysterious backview... and yet simple - which is good.

I don't always include pics of other works by writers.  But once in a while....
Sequels include:
Payoff (novella)
Sharp (out April 2 2013)

I picked up this book even though I thought it was written by a man - now I know this sounds sexist, but I usually prefer my novels to be written by a woman, and I also usually prefer the main characters to be women - so I can relate even though I'm not your average woman (meaning I never really fit into the old school, or even new school gender roles, either emotionally or in actions - what does this mean?  hell, I don't even know....other than I'm not comfortable with feelings, emotions....etc ), which affects the way I relate to novels...
Anyway, I started reading and thought - wow, this is one of the few times I've read a man writer and it didn't sound a whole lot like a man - and at the same time didn't sound overly mushy either....haha.  Joke was on me.  I saw Hughes' author page, with this picture of rather beautiful woman.  LOL.  Never judge a book by it's cover, or an author by the name (?).
Serves me right for reading with sexist expectations.  

So - main character is this guy, and it's written first person.  I was pulled immediately into his story, complete with an addiction - which itself is complete with cravings, very frequent urges and missing of the drug of choice, etc.  All the while, this guy is trying to control the input of telepathic information that's deluging his brain...without the help of anything to dull the sensations.  He's been in "recovery" for a while, working the steps, yet not quite really working the steps with his whole heart.  I found this very believable.

The setting is in the future, there's been a huge tech war, where computers and artificial intelligence wreaked havoc with humanity.  so much so, that computer use is strictly controlled.  Interesting premise, and the only thing that got to me was the frequent mentions of certain information which I found a little repetitive. However, the rest of the story, plot lines, dialogue and character descriptions - the action was interesting enough that this possibly repetitive information seemed minor in comparison with my enjoyment of the novel.

In fact, something I found very surprising - is that I was pulled so into the story, into the series of events, that it wasn't until AFTER I had finished the book, and read ANOTHER person's review that I realized this guy's name isn't mentioned in the book....until the very last page. If you haven't read the book - don't go ruining the effect of this, by skipping to the last page for his name.  Just go with the flow, read it sequentially and experience this the way it's planned out.

Quick summary of plot - this telepath is an addict (having a very hard time with recovery), dealing with people's judging, working with a lady cop that he's a little attached to, dealing with a lack of respect (from others AND himself), dealing with these intense CRAVINGS, trying to help with interrogations, and dealing with CRAVINGS, and trying to keep secrets for the telepath guild...while dealing with those-yep, those cravings.  And bodies are being found that point to a murderer with telepathic abilities...
and he keeps having these...


Now he has to deal with all that, an ethical quandary  AND his intense cravings.
Not easy.
At all.
Especially when he keeps accidentally responding to his partner's thoughts when she doesn't want him in her head...


This was a very simple summary of the plot - and there is much more to the book.  The book is rich in details, dialogue, thoughts and events.
I really enjoyed this novel.
The first person narration of a suffering addict was right on the money.  Hell, I was feeling those cravings right along with him, and hoping he wasn't going to give it all up and use.
The dialogue between all the various characters was fitting.  There didn't seem to be very many people on his side...and yet he keeps plugging along, because - what's the alternative?
giving up.
not a good option.
There are a lot of layers in this book, and most of them handled very well - just that bit of too many mentions of the tech-war....which - really - needed to be mentioned a few times for story continuity.  I'm just difficult that way.

Great novel, with an interesting twist in the scifi, and an interesting futuristic setting.
Oh - and there are air cars.  So you can drive in the skylanes, as well as on the road.


I'm looking forward to reading the sequel - Sharp; and I need to get out my Kindle so I can read the novella that takes place between Clean and Sharp, titled Payoff.  You can read excerpts to all on Amazon - in fact, click on the covers above.  I've linked them to the excerpt page.
(I'm cool like that, yo. *grin*)

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