I liked Clean. On its surface it is a detective novel with telepathy added as a twist. In fact, the first several chapters unfold in typical crime drama fashion. A murder, some inter-departmental drama, and the hint of a love interest. It is quickly apparent, however, that the world this book takes place in was carefully crafted.
The book unfolds from the first person perspective of our protagonist. The title, Clean, hints at his past, as we learn right away that his past is checkered and filled with abuse and relapse. He is a telepath in a world where telepathy and other Abilities are accepted and regulated. The actual history of this unfolds in dribs and drabs as the story unfolds. Rather than an infodump in the first chapter, the author wisely builds his world and it's backstory brick by brick, and reveals the past of our unnamed protagonist at the same time. It is effective. The case progresses, we delve deeper into the past of the main characters, and we learn more of the world that shaped them.
I give the book 3 out of 5 stars. Remembering that 3 star books are still great in my book, I'd recommend it if you're into crime dramas, if you like post-apocalyptic stories that don't get too gritty, or if you are a fan of character driven sci fi. This is not hard sci fi by any means. I stop short of giving it 4 stars simply because the story didn't *grab* me. Also, I got an advance copy through Goodreads First Reads, so I didn't need to decide if it was worth the 8 dollars for a paperback or e-book.
- Complex characters
- Interesting setting
- Cliche in places
Well written, exciting, first book from Alex Hughes.