fantasy and science fiction book reviewsSharp by Alex HughesSharp by Alex Hughes

Sharp is the second full novel in the MINDSPACE INVESTIGATION series and is a direct follow up to the first book Clean. Adam is still struggling from the after-effects of his over-extension of his abilities at the end of Clean and is having a hard time keeping up with the pace of his work while coping with the never-ending craving of addiction.

A new case comes up, a vicious murder, and Adam is tasked to determine if there is some psychic evidence that he can add to the investigation. When Adam and Detective Cherabino get to the scene of the crime, Adam is stunned to find that the victim is Emily, one of his former students. Adam had destroyed Emily’s psychic abilities through negligence while he was in the throes of his addiction and still an instructor for the Guild.

Mirroring reality, the city budget for law enforcement is facing serious budget reductions and lay-offs are imminent. Contractors and other non-essential staff are all being strongly scrutinized during this process. For Adam, losing his job and the essential mechanism that it provides for him to function with the challenges of his addiction is a terrible threat. Despite the lingering weakness of having over used his talents, the need to excel so he can keep his job is pushing him hard.

On top of all this the Guild has sent an investigative Agent to monitor Adam. Even though he is no longer affiliated with the Guild, this oversight is not only invasive of his privacy, but also represents a real threat. Adam’s choices, while not a real threat to the Guild, are not always exactly in the best interest of the Guild. There is a real pull between his loyalty to the police force and the increasing expectations of the Guild that he will provide them insight into issues that they consider in their purview.

There is so much going on in Sharp and it’s interesting for sure, but the best part of this story is the characterization of Adam. Alex Hughes does such a great job of really letting you feel the stress and anxiety that Adam is enduring. His guilt over having permanently damaged two gifted women as a side-effect of his drug addiction, his desire to protect his functional lifestyle as an addict who is staying out of trouble, and his desire to earn the trust and friendship of Detective Cherabino make him so real. I could really feel just how hard it was for him to cope with all of this at once and not just give up and dash into the oblivion that his addiction promises.

Sharp is so much more than just a paranormal detective novel. The worldbuilding is good, the complexities of the plot, while predictable, are interesting and the development of the main character is awesome. I haven’t been too excited about any other urban fantasies I’ve read recently, but Sharp was fantastic.

Release date: April 2, 2013 | Series: Mindspace Investigations (Book 2). HISTORY HAS A WAY OF REPEATING ITSELF, EVEN FOR TELEPATHS.… 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…

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  • John Hulet

    JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years. We still hear from him every once in a while.

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