Clean by Alex Hughes. ★★★
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that managed to give me so many mixed feelings!
The narrator of Clean is a drug addicted telepath. After getting kicked out of the Telepath’s Guild, he makes a living by working for police, mainly by using his telepathic powers to tease information out of suspects during interviews. But his routine begins to fall to pieces when a new killer starts stalking Atlanta and he’s called upon to help investigate. All signs point to the killer having some form of psychic powers, but otherwise clues are sparse.
After Atlas by Emma Newman. ★★★★
After Atlas is a novel set in the same universe as Newman’s stellar science fiction novel, Planetfall. However, the two books are completely distinct and can be read independently. In fact, After Atlas is actually a mystery novel in addition to a science fiction story.
After Atlas presents a very dark vision of the future. Democracy has failed, and the world is ruled by hybrid government/corporations – govcorps. Carlos Moreno, who’s mother left aboard the spaceship Atlas, had the misfortune of being rounded up and sold as a debt slave. For the next thirty years, he’ll belong to the Ministry of Justice, where he works as a detective. But a new case threatens the fragile boundaries he’s constructed to preserve his mental state. His uncle, Alejandro Casales, and leader of a religious cult has been found dead in a hotel room, and Carlos will be forced to examine his past.
Recovery Man by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. ★★★1/2
Recovery Man is the sixth novel in Rusch’s science fiction mystery series following Retrieval Artist Miles Flint. The premise of the series is as follows: human governments have signed treaties with alien governments mandating that humans be tried under alien laws for crimes committed on alien planets. But some of the punishments or “crimes” are completely, well, alien to humans, so a burgeoning industry of Disappearance Services hides human offenders from alien justice systems. Miles Flint, a former police officer, is a Retrieval Artist, someone who works for the families of the Disappeared, who will try to contact them without blowing their aliases.
While you could theoretically start with Recovery Man, I wouldn’t. It’s not the best book in the series, and the plotline is weaker than some of the others. Try the first book, The Disappeared.
Borderline by Mishell Baker. ★★★★
Trigger warning: self harm
Borderline is one of the best urban fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time. Having been reading urban fantasy for a while, certain elements feel familiar. The protagonist is usually snarky, and if female, conventionally attractive and probably wears black leather. The protagonist is likely to be some sort of detective, and there’s a mystery to be solved.
Mishell Baker’s Borderline both uses genre conventions and yet is unlike almost other urban fantasy novels out there. There’s fey, which are probably third most popular UF creatures after vampires and werewolves. There’s a mystery to be solved. The heroine can be snarky at times. However, it is this very heroine who makes the book so distinct.
The Timeseer’s Gambit by Kate McIntyre. ★★★★
The Timeseer’s Gambit is the sequel to fantasy mystery novel, The Deathsniffer’s Assistant. While there is a separate mystery, I highly suggest reading the books in order since there are some ongoing plot threads and character arcs.
Three months after Christopher Buckley started working for the eccentric detective Olivia Faraday, they’ve got a new case. Across the city, young priests have died in apparent accidents, yet there appears to be a connection. If that weren’t enough, Dr. Livingstone is about to go to trial, and it looks like he’ll be convicted, even though Chris is sure he’s innocent. And on top of everything else, he still hasn’t figured out what’s going on with those mysterious powers he displayed at the end of the last book? Oh, and his apparent past connection to the alluring William Cartwright.
Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara. ★★1/2
My reading relationship with Cast in Shadows had a lot of ups and downs. The beginning made it seem like it would be terrible again. The middle made it seem like it’d be all right. Then the ending brought it to back down to a “not very good.”
Kaylin is a Hawk, the police force of the City of Elantra. Seven years ago she fled the lawless streets of the fiefdom Nightshade, when strange marks appeared on her skin that had marked death for other children. Now children are dying again, and the marks on Kaylin’s skin are changing. But this time, Kaylin has the power to investigate the mystery.
Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman. ★★★★
Cathy comes from the Nether, the space between the Fae’s Exilium and the human’s Mundanus. While she had escaped the strict and hidebound society of the Nether, she’s now being dragged back in to face an arranged marriage. Meanwhile, Max, an Arbitrator who prevents Fae from entangling with Mundanus, is investigating a series of kidnappings and murders.