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on 7 April 2014
I really enjoy these books in the Mindspace Investigations series by Alex Hughes. She has created a world of the future, after the Tech War, which has advanced in time but definitely not in technology. Nobody trusts technology since the misuse of that is what caused the war in the first place. However, human nature being what it is there will always be those who illegally invent and sell that technology. So you get a situation of having anti-gravity vehicles for road transport alongside the situation of the DeKalb Police Department sharing one computer among many departments. A computer geek who is feared because of his knowledge of computers and yet he had the courage to have a brain implant to better link him with the computer at the risk of contracting the same virus which killed so many during the war. Characters are divided between the normals and those with ability, and they don't trust each other one little bit. Adam Ward is a Seventh Level telepath who has been kicked out of the Guild because of a drug problem. Never mind that it was the Guild itself that developed the drug and then allowed him to experiment with it. Now he has a history of drug abuse and a criminal conviction in the world of the normals. That doesn't stop the police department from using his talents to interview criminal suspects. It's hard to lie to someone who has the natural ability to detect all kinds of cues given off by humans. In this story Adam's ex-fiancé, Kara, has called to say her uncle has died and his death is being treated as a suicide. Kara believes he was murdered and she wants Adam to come back to the Guild compound to prove how her uncle died. Never mind that contagious madness is rumored to be infecting those who use mind-to-mind contact. And never mind that Kara puts Family first and just might betray Adam yet again.

This is an especially well written series among a growing segment of the urban fantasy genre. The "supernatural ability" in a futuristic world is quite interesting to me, but not all authors are able to explain and describe their world as well as Alex Hughes. The first book in the series is Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel where the focus is on Adam's struggles with being and staying drug free so you really get a sense of what his personality is like. The second book is Sharp: A Mindspace Investigations Novel which I misplaced (until yesterday) so I haven't read it yet. It would be helpful if you could read CLEAN first, but it certainly isn't required because Ms. Hughes establishes all her characters so well within each novel. However, you will miss some of the nuances of the relationships between Adam and Swartz, Kara, and Isabella Cherabino by not starting with the first book. The political wrangling that goes on within the Guild leadership is quite fascinating and maybe even a little depressing. How can people who have been given such useful abilities manage to mess things up so badly? Read the books and come up with your own opinion.

This third novel really moved the character of Adam quite a bit further in his development and I am hopeful that some of the clues given in this story will lead to plot advancement as well. I would really like to see Adam use that shiny new badge of his in the next story to expand his movement around Atlanta more. And maybe even buy a car now?
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