Book Review: Marked by Alex Hughes

Posted December 31, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Marked by Alex Hughes

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Marked by Alex Hughes
Genres: Detective, Dystopian, Horror, Science Fiction
Published by Roc on April 1, 2014
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: the library



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.…

Third in the Mindspace Investigations dystopian-like science fiction detective series set in Atlanta and revolving around Adam, a telepath who is also a recovering addict.

My Take

Wow. I do like the sound of the victim’s house. I want a door like his!

Marked is so full of twists and turns…one minute it looks as if Kara is setting Adam up, and considering what’s at stake, I am so not liking her for what she’s putting Adam through. Considering his background and past experiences with Enforcement, she’s being a real bitch. Then that meeting in her office. The one she demanded Adam move heaven and earth to get to, and it’s an ambush. Still it turns and twists again with some unexpected results.

The Guild is even worse. This bloody Guild demands everything from you but won’t support you when what they do to you tears you apart. They don’t do much to inspire me with all their consorting with bad guys, the cover-ups, the instantaneous jumps to destroy people, the extortion and blackmail they practice. Then there’s Guild First. They certainly sound like a threat. They certainly don’t encourage me with all the illegal weapons manufacture they have going on. Of course we find out later the the normals’ government is busy doing the same thing, so I guess it’s all fair enough…everyone cheating on everyone else. Wright certainly finds that one out!

It’s fascinating to see how Adam’s exposure to norms in those interrog-, er, those interview rooms has taught him so much. It is a shame, however, that he hasn’t learned much about timing or diplomacy.

At last! It’s taken ’til the third story before we finally find out Adam’s last name.

Whoaaaa, Swartz is changing his mind about the whole keep a plant alive and then you can have a relationship thing! That heart attack must’a been good for him. So to speak. It’s that which leads Adam to jump in with both feet. Yep, he finally asks Cherabino out on a date! That’s just one of the revelations in Marked. Good ones and bad ones. One in particular is a bit of a heartbreaker for Adam, but maybe he’s still healing. We’ll have to hope.

Oh, another twist. That Green. What an ass. Ahh, and another bit of information that explains the tightened security on privacy violations. Don’t these people have any concept of compassion? Of tolerance? Looking at them, how they act toward the people around them, how they treat them, I DO NOT want this type in government. Our own politicians are bad enough!

This is interesting. Adam figures out why Cherabino has such a high close rate: she’ll listen to anyone and never turn down a second opinion. It’s been an odd journey with these cops, including Cherabino. They act much as you’d expect conservative men to act. They don’t like Adam, but they mostly band together to help him out when he needs it. They may see him as a weak felon who can’t be trusted, but he’s their weak felon who can’t be trusted, lol.

I do like that ending. It may not have ended the way I wanted it to end, but this one is so very much more real. And leaves me panting for the next in the series, Vacant.

The Story

Uncle Meyers is said to have committed suicide, but it doesn’t feel right. Now Enforcement and the Guild are working hard to cover it up. Kara is insisting that Adam investigate, that he go up against the powers-that-be, the powers that have the power of life and death over him and upset their apple cart.

It’s a power struggle in the Guild and Adam’s caught up in the middle of it.

The Characters

Adam Ward is a Level Eight telepath who is also addicted to Satin, part of a medical experiment by his superiors that got out of hand. Once it did, they washed their hands of him; now he’s an ex-felon not trusted to handle his own money. He currently works for the police as an interviewer and a sort of forensics expert, reading anything of the killer’s or the victim’s mind left at crime scenes. He’s also in love with Cherabino. Swartz is his NA sponsor, who is still recovering from his heart attack; Selah is his wife.

Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino is his current “partner” — she makes good use of his abilities and keeps an eye on him. Jacob is her nephew and a telepath/teleporter that Adam has helped get private instruction to avoid the Guild finding him. Nicole is his mother and Cherabino’s sister. Detective Michael is her police partner.

The DeKalb County PD
Let’s just get this out of the way: nobody in the police station likes Adam. Sergeant Bransen is in charge of assigning who the provisionals will work with, and he’ll do what he can to make a stink and take Adam on as a provisional employee. Officer Briggs is the cop first on scene. Jamal is with Forensics. Lieutenant Marlene Paulsen is Adam’s boss with the PD, and she’s struggling with budget cuts. Clark is the most senior of the interviewers. Captain Justin Harris used to be married to Jamie and still has his Guild pass. Andrew is one of the police forensic accountants with an appreciation for the important things in a cubicle life, lol. Bob is one of the few, the VERY few people with a legal implant that allows him to interface with computers and access the Internet. Frances is a file clerk. Rachel Muñez is a department accountant handling Adam’s money. Detective Freeman.

State Bureau
Piccanonni is Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Special Agent Louis Jarred. Special Agent George Ruffins is with Tech Control Organization, and he dislikes Adam.

The Telepath’s Guild…

…saved the world from the Tech Wars, and they took advantage of the world’s gratitude. Kara Chenoa is Adam’s ex-fiancée; she’s also the one who turned him in ten years ago. She’s now an attachée for the Guild to the city. Uncle Del Meyers is a Councilman and the Employment chair. Cindy Ballon is Meyers’ ex-wife; she’d met someone on the job in D.C. John Spirale was Del’s assistant; he’s committed suicide. Hawk Chenoa is one of the family patriarchs and unofficially one of the most powerful men at the Guild. The Chenoas have been around since the Guild Founding and follows the founder’s ethics, Cooper’s, very seriously. Gustolf is one of Kara’s cousins and into extreme sports. He follows orders from the Erickson-Meyers clan before he’ll follow Hawk’s orders. Seems Kara has now become a major player.

Chris Tubbs is Kara’s boss. Ruth Turner is a second-class guard attached to Headquarters. Ruthgar is a necrokinetic (determines cause of death and specializes in dead tissue or near-death patients); Sandra is his assistant, a micro. Johanna Wendell is a low-level Four telepath who was studying for her precognition recurrents. Jamie Skelton is a Level Ten telepath and one of Adam’s friends. Marta and Rohan (he can “see” around corners) are a couple of the students she’s mentoring.

Telepath security
Enforcement has absolute legal authority over all telepaths: judge, jury, and executioner. All telepaths are taught that Enforcement wanted only the truth and were fair. Tobias Nelson is the executive chair of Enforcement and uttered a threat to Uncle Meyers. Latisha Jones is a mind scanner. Edgar Stone had been Adam’s Watcher, now he’s the man sent to investigate Meyer’s death. He reports to Tobias who reports to Rex.

The Guild Council
There are twelve members of the Guild North American Ruling Council. Thaddeus Rex is executive chair of the Council and leads the Guild First faction *groan*. Mrs. Martinez is his secretary who fell ill and Johanna filled in. Hmmm. Moby and Davidson are the teleporter guards. Charlie Walker had been a fellow student and is now on the Council. Chin is the Research chair. Joe Green is Guild First with no ethics. Julio Diaz is head of the council. Kim Lee is in charge of Finance.

Cardinal Laboratories
Noah Wright is a victim who used to work on technology applications for Cardinal Laboratories; he was also an informant for Ruffins. He was facing a lawsuit for “improper use of sensitive information”. One that’s been in limbo. Susan Cornell was his supervisor with some social issues. Nicole Sagara was the only one of a number of employees who hated Wright. She had reason, but damn, she is excessive with it still! They’re working on the Galen Project, bioenhanced super soldiers.

Garrett Fiske is a criminal mastermind whom Cherabino has been investigating for years, and he always manages to skip. Sibley is a strangler for hire Adam had put in jail a few weeks ago. Mantel, Rodriguez, and Peterson (he’s the about-to-be former head of security) work for Fiske.

Martin Cooper, one of the founding members, believed in honesty and integrity. Gabriela Gee was the original firestarter. Guild First claims that it fights to protect Guild interests and projects. Koshna Accords are a treaty between normals and telepaths. A mindspace machine is banned by the Accords. The North Rim was a disaster of mental stability.

Free Data Campaigners believe in sharing all information.

The Cover and Title

The cover is almost an LSD trip as Adam stands amid a swirl of mindspace outside the Guild headquarters looking up at all that glass in its blues and greens. But not as lurid as the lime green of the title and author’s name, lol.

The title is Adam, for he’s Marked.

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