Marked: A Mindspace Investigations Novel
by Alex Hughes
Review by Mel Jacob
Roc Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451466938
Date: 01 April 2014 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
In Alex Hughes' Marked, Adam Ward's checkered past and his telepathic abilities make his survival among non-telepaths difficult. When his former fiancée, Kara Chenoa, asks his help to prove her uncle did not commit suicide, high ranking members of the Guild, an organization of telepaths, want none of that. Soon, Adam is the target of a crime boss and most members of the Guild's ruling council.
The Mindspace Investigations are set in a world where in the past technology led to war and ended with a world with less technology and the Guild, a group of people with telepathic capabilities. The main character, Adam Ward, a telepath, former teacher, and recovering drug addict, struggles to put his life together and avoid a highly addictive drug. He works with the police as an interrogator of suspects because he has the ability to tell when suspects are lying. He can also read a crime scene for information left in the Mindscape, a sort of spirit world.
Adam has fallen in love with his colleague police detective Isabella Cherubino, but hesitates to make any moves in her direction. His mentor who recently suffered serious heart damage, is unaware of the large financial debt Adam incurred to get the Guild to heal the man.
While Adam he no longer loves Kara, he still wants to help her. The suicide verdict is not good for the family and implies her uncle suffered madness. The Guild fears a further outbreak and has quarantined the family. They want no further investigation.
Adam soon discovers there is a power struggle between the various Guild factions and is imprisoned. He is also in danger of losing his police job. Eventually, a senior Guild member orders him to investigate the death of Kara's uncle and report only to him. He offers to forgive a large part of Adam's Guild debt in return.
With the police, Adam is involved in the solving of an ax murder. Someone had killed a former employee of contractor to the government. His body was missing part of the back of the head and a chunk from one arm. Adam assists in the interviews of the contractor's staff, but isn't able to identify the killer among those employees. The team also discovers large money transfers into the man's personal accounts.
Hughes keeps the investigations flowing as Adam tries to manage the police work, the guild demands, and his feelings for Cherabino. While set in the far future, the novel has much in common with other paranormal mystery novels such as Gone And Done It by Maggie Toussaint and The Third Eye by Jacqueline Seewald. Books 1 and 2 Clean and Sharp of the Mindspace series were published earlier. A novella, Payoff, and a short story "Rabbit Trick" are also available.