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Review: Marked (Mindspace Investigations #3) by Alex Hughes

marked by alex hughesPublisher: Ace/Roc
Publish Date: Out Now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley

FORESEE NO EVIL.

Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.…
*Blurb from Goodreads

Alex Hughes’ Mindspace Investigations series takes place in a near-future post-apocalyptic version of Atlanta. The worldbuilding and the relationships get more and more complicated with each book, and the information about what went wrong in the not-too-distant past (or in our not-too-distant future) builds more depth and gets more interesting.

This is not a series where you can start in the middle. If urban fantasy with a scientific basis sounds good to you, start with the absolutely awesome Clean (reviewed at Reading Reality) and continue through Sharp (likewise).

The hero of the series is a police consultant named Adam Ward. Adam is an ex-drug addict, ex-felon and ex-Guild telepath. He may be ex-Guild, but he’s still a telepath. He’s also nervy and brilliant and always on the edge of losing control of his addictions and his fears. If some of that description sounds like the Sherlock in Elementary, it’s intentional on my part.

However, while Adam has made, and continues to make, a hell of a lot of mistakes in his personal relationships, he’s generally not deliberately an ass.

What he is usually is a complicated mess. His consulting gig with the DeKalb County P.D. is always under the threat of the budget axe. Because of the way that the Telepath Guild ruthlessly saved the rest of humanity after the Tech Wars, the Guild always has complete jurisdiction over him, whether he is a member in good standing or not. They can jerk his chain anytime they want.

And he’s in love with his police partner, Isabella Cherabino. He assumes the feeling is not returned, but that doesn’t make a difference to him. His job, and working with Cherabino, are what give his life enough structure to keep him from using. Today.

Marked is both a continuation of the case that has been built in the first two books, and yet another time with the Guild jerks Adam’s chain. They threaten him into looking into a series of suspicious suicides, hoping that he will come up with the right conclusion.

For select and Guild-serving definitions of right.

Instead, he uncovers a conspiracy that has a chance of bringing down the Guild, or bringing the human military down on all their heads. Or possibly both.

The relationship between Adam and Cherabino continues to evolve, in multiple directions. They are heading toward a romance, but very, very slowly. Their working styles are absolutely opposite, Adam is seat-of-the-pants, and Cherabino is definitely a by-the-book cop. She’s also much tougher than Adam, and neither of them pretends otherwise.

The story is all about plots within plots, and wheels within wheels. Each time a layer peels back and even hints that it might be solved, another equally smelly layer is revealed underneath.

It’s been said that this series is Dresden meets J.D. Robb. That’s probably close, although Adam’s problems with relationships is more cluelessness and less Dresden’s over-developed need to protect people who don’t need to be protected.

In any case, I like both the Dresden Files and J.D. Robb’s In Death series, so anything that combines those two works for me.

I give Marked an A.

Links to purchase:

By Marlene

Marlene is a librarian, ebook advocate, science fiction fan, and RPG fan who lives in Atlanta. She and her husband are owned by three cats, just ask them. She's a geek and a nerd and proud of it. She's also an avid reader of everything, including the back of the cereal box, and has been blogging since April 2011 at Reading Reality and is a reviewer at Library Journal as well as active on Goodreads.

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