Book Review: Clean
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.
While this book reminded me of some similar elements in Stacia Kane’s Chess Putnam Series with a drug addicted protagonist (though as evidenced by the title of the book the main character in Clean is . . . clean) and Mark Del Franco’s Connor Grey series with a disgraced man who has Abilities, Hughes creates a unique universe in Clean. In the formula of UF cop buddy series the protagonist has a female counterpart who works for the Normals and with whom there is latent sexual desires and perhaps a budding romance. It is however a very sub sub plot to the mystery of the dead bodies and the overarching story line of the protagonist’s fall from grace.
I liked the telepathic stuff, it was unique and different from the other UF series that I read. Every aspect of telepathy, telekinesis, etc is explored and people with Abilities are given number rankings on a scale of how sensitive they are. The protagonist in Clean is high on the Richter scale and perhaps this is why his downfall is so dramatic. Once a rising store with Abilities that amazed both his peers and mentors, the protagonist is now a lowly interrogator under the watchful eyes of with a cop and a sponsor who makes him share at least three good things that happen to him every week. It seems he’s unrepentant for his past deeds, going through the steps because it’s probably best that he should be clean, and it’s a nice starting point for this part of the plot. I’m interested to see how he develops through the upcoming series in his dealings with addiction and how it affects his ability to have relationships and his Ability in telepathy.
You may note that I haven’t used a name. That is because this story is told from the protagonist’s point of view and no one calls him by name through the entirety of the book. In fact it isn’t until the end of the book that the reader learns even that much about the protagonist. Because in spite of it being from his point of view, he isn’t all that introspective on why he feels or acts the way that he does. Perhaps as he grows and deals with his addictions he will become more in tune with himself and the choices he makes, but as it stands he blames everyone and everything else for his addiction. A frustrating point of view to read for sure. But if I am to support character growth and development in series than I can’t judge too harshly to starting point, and there is some definite growth by the end of this book that I’m hopeful such development will occur.
Clean is an interesting look at one addicts journey to use what Ability he still maintains after his bout with drugs for the greater good, without really knowing why he does what he does. He has a vision about what is to happen and knows that somehow the serial killer on the loose has something to do with the protagonist’s past, but not how it will all work out in the end. Hughes asks whether if we know something is fated to happen, can we really stop it from coming to fruition?
I picked up a copy of this book from the library on the recommendation of someone on GoodReads.