This promising debut novel is a solid police procedural with a strong fantasy overlay. Hughes carefully builds a world with limited access to — but no love or trust for — technology, and where a good percentage of the population has some sort of extrasensory ability. The narrator’s struggle to stay drug-free in a world that shuns his kind is convincingly and sympathetically portrayed. Well-paced and tightly written with plenty of suspense, this should appeal to fantasy and mystery fans alike.
In a land nearly destroyed by the abuse of technology, the population has little trust in those individuals with any kind of special ability, even though they are bound by treaties and the rules of The Guild that oversees them. Adam, a gifted telepath who was tossed out of The Guild because of his drug habit, now liaises with the cops. Using his talent to enter the minds of suspects, Adam proves to be a valuable asset. As he attempts to stay clean and earn the trust of the police department, he starts assisting homicide detective Isabella Cherabino on a tricky set of serial murders — with strong ties to The Guild. But time is of the essence since, in Adam’s latest vision, he’s the next to die. (ROC, Sep., 352 pp., $7.99)