Clean was written by Alex Hughes and centers around an unnamed powerful telepath. He had been very influential in the Guild, an autonomous group of telepaths, prior to the start of the book. Fortunately for his development he has a pretty serious flaw, he is an addict. Over the course of the novel we discover that his drug was originally an experiment by the Guild. However, just because he was an addict was not the cause for his washing out of the Guild.The official reasons for his being forced out are not central to the plot of the novel and, hence, not really explored. That said, in the little time the main character talks about it, I was left to believe he broke some major rules, one of which was stealing more of the drug from the Guild. He had been reduced to a consultant for the police force, every day interviewing the hardest cases. Paraphrasing his words, he has the capability of pulling rabbits out of the hat and so he is pulled into a serial killer case. And the top brass are hoping he can find them their rabbit.
The story was well written and entertaining. Not using the main character’s name until the last lines of the book was an interesting technique, one that can allow the reader to have a closer and deeper connection with this flawed character. Flawed though he is, he manages to make strides throughout the book and not just through the plot. He grows not only as a man, but as a person, fighting his addiction as best he can. The most telling manifestation of his growth comes when he is beaten and bruised and he walks away for all the right reasons, though he does grumble about it a little. His struggle with his addiction plays a major role throughout the storyline, however, the real crux of the book is a murder mystery and we are not left wanting here.
While the main telepath discovers the murder’s identity about halfway to three quarters of the way through, the cops need real, tangible proof. And so, the rest of the book deals with the gathering of that proof. My one complaint would have to be that over the course of the novel the author drops a lot of references to an event that took place about sixty years prior to the start of the book, the Tech Wars. Yes, the Tech Wars were bad and yes, they scared the populace; but how did they accomplish this? What was so bad with what happened? Alex Hughes simply does not delve deeply into this telling event. But, since Clean is the first novel in The Mindspace Investigation series I will assume that this will be explored piecemeal over the next installments.
With the kindle copy of clean I was able to reasonable add the professional narration performed by Daniel May. This narrator is no Michael Kramer, or even James Marsters. Nevertheless, he feels right for the main character, which is important, especially since this book is told from his point of view. May is weak with female voices and is even unable to really make clear distinctions between the voices of the female characters. This makes it paramount to pay extra attention to how each scene is set. But as I said he fits the main character like a glove and for that I can excuse the lack of character diversity.