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...
Sharp, the second of the Mindspace Investigations novels by Alex Hughes. The protagonist and premise are engaging, and with the addition of telepathic abilities and a clash with law enforcement, the story keeps up its fast past from beginning to end.
For those picking up the series for the first time, it won’t be too difficult to catch up. The premise is that after a war that killed much of humanity, a lot of technology has been banned. But, law enforcement still has to prevent crime, and that’s where telepaths come in.
Adam is a Level Eight telepath, which is fairly impressive. However, he’s not the most popular guy since he was kicked out of the Guild of Telepaths after they learned that he was not only an addict, but that he’d burned out three of his students. That means he essentially eliminated their telepathic potential. Now Adam works with the police, using his abilities to interrogate suspects in what’s called ‘Mindspace,’ think of it as the psychic plane. His partner on the force is Detective Cherabino, but they’re having problems too after the events of the first book. Adam set up a mental bond with Cherabino, without her permission, meaning they can hear each other’s thoughts. Cherabino is pretty upset about this, and when Sharp begins, it’s been less than a couple months since the events of the last book, and Adam is recovering from burning himself out. Recovery from burning out is possible, but it takes time, and he’s still not operating at full strength.
Suffice to say, Adam isn’t well-liked, but at the same time, he’s getting better at what he does, and the reader gets to see him improve and learn how to investigate crimes, figure out who’s guilty and innocent, and yet, his competence has made him somewhat notorious. The Guild isn’t happy that he’s working on his own, and the FBI is making noises about him working for them.
So the mystery he gets called in to help investigate is problematic in a couple ways: nothing about the crime sits right with him, and Adam thinks it was a professional that committed the murder. While he tries to solve the mystery, the Guild is evaluating him, and on top of that, there’s a smuggling operation and the possible use of illegal technology to handle.
Adam is definitely an underdog; he’s made mistakes, will make more, but he’s trying to do the right thing, and mostly not screw up and get people killed. Anybody who likes that sort of protagonist will find him likeable and enjoy a book that offers a different take on telepathy. .