Tag Archive | Mindspace Investigations

Payoff by Alex Hughes

Payoff by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #1.5)Released: March 5, 2013
Format: e-book
Publisher: Ace

Series: Mindspace Investigations #1.5

Source: Personal shelf

Being a telepath, I should have seen the hell I was getting myself into…

I used to be one of the most powerful telepaths in the guild. That was before my drug addiction and before they kicked me out. But I’m not a bad guy. Now I help the Atlanta PD solve murders. And even though there are only a few people I call friends, I’d do most anything to keep their trust.

So when a judge asks me to help investigate a missing college kid, I’m down for it. No questions asked. No problem. But in this dark world, things are never easy and a favor is never just a favor. Turns out, politicians don’t like being murder suspects. And it’s bad to anger someone with more power than you. I thought I had nothing to lose… I was wrong.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s the last week of class at my university, which means I only have two more classes to teach this semester! I’m pretty excited so I’m going to celebrate with an extra post this week, in the shape of a discussion about the enovella that recently came out in Alex Hughes’ Mindspace Investigations series. Set a few weeks after Clean, the first novel and Hughes’ debut (which I discussed last month), Payoff is a short story set between Clean and the just-released Sharp. As such, this post will contain spoilers for Clean so you might now want to continue until you’ve had a chance to read Clean or just don’t mind spoilers.

With that out of the way…

Payoff deals with the ramifications of the main character’s actions in the final battle in Clean, which wiped out his telepathy for who knows how long. He’s forced to lead an investigation for a judge when said judge calls in an old debt, and Adam (the main character) really feels the lack of his telepathy throughout the novella. It was really interesting watching him struggle through life like a regular person, and to see him realize just how much he relies on his telepathy in his day-to-day life.

I spent a significant portion of the read enjoying the fact that I can finally call the main character Adam in my reviews instead of writing out “the main character” each and every time since Hughes revealed his name at the end of Clean. 🙂 I also enjoyed the way Adam and Cherebino’s back and forth as they deal with the Link that accidentally formed between them, thanks to Cherebino’s willingness to serve as his anchor when he’s investigating in Mindspace. Now, things between them are awkward to the extreme, and their dance is great reading.

All of this has me pretty jazzed to get my hands on Sharp so I’m glad that today’s the release day for the second Mindspace Investigations novel.

Waiting on Wednesday [9]

Waiting on Wednesday logo

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


I quite liked Clean, the first book in Alex Hughes’ Mindspace Investigation series, though I neglected to write a post about it. The second book in the series, Sharp, is coming out next month and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. And maybe learning the main character’s name…

Sharp by Alex Hughes (Mindspace Investigations #2)


As a Level Eight telepath, I am the best police interrogator in the department. But I’m not a cop—I never will be—and my only friend on the force, Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino, is avoiding me because of a telepathic link I created by accident. And I might not even be an interrogator for much longer. Our boss says unless I pull out a miracle, I’ll be gone before Christmas. I need this job, damn it. It’s the only thing keeping me sane. Parts for illegal Tech—the same parts used to bring the world to its knees in the Tech Wars sixty years ago—are being hijacked all over the city. Plus Cherbino’s longtime nemesis, a cop killer, has resurfaced with a vengeance. If I can stay alive long enough, I just might be able to prove my worth, once and for all…

Clean by Alex Hughes

Clean: A Mindspace Investigations Novel by Alex HughesPublished: September 4, 2012
Format: Mass market paperback
Publisher: Roc

Series: Mindspace Investigations #1

Source: Personal shelf

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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

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. 🙂

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