Book Review: Alex Hughes’ Vacant

Posted February 24, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

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.

Book Review: Alex Hughes’ Vacant



Alex Hughes

urban fantasy in eBook edition that was published by ROC on December 2, 2014 and has 347 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Clean, Sharp, "Payoff", Marked

Fourth in the Mindspace Investigations psychic investigator series and revolving around Adam Ward, drug addict and police interrogator, taking a side trip to Savannah.

My Take

Talk about love! Poor Adam is enduring a concert because Isabella is so eager to attend it. It’s worth it, though, when Adam discovers a whole new Mindspace.

In this story, it’s Isabella’s and Adam’s high sense of responsibility that sets up her downfall.

I do get annoyed with Adam; he’s such a whiner! How can he not know what a close rate is? He’s been working with the police for how many years?

Mom is a piece of work. Her son should be a high priority for her — god knows, she protests about her kid enough to the security people, but she’s more interested in thwarting the protection around him than in spending any time with him, even after someone tried to kidnap her son.

Yeah, that idiot (Adam) thinks he’s failed. No shit. He knows the dangers to Tommy, and yet he’s too hungry to wait and protect him? Duhhh. How can someone so intelligent be so dumb? Why isn’t he telling the FBI about the weapons being sold? As for Tommy…idiot. People tried to kidnap him a few days before. People died for him. People he cared about, and he still goes running off?

Jesus, this Fiske is such a piece of work.

Well, Cherabino is definitely all girl. She wants her cake and she wants to eat it too, and she’ll blame Adam if she can’t.

One of the good things about Vacant is Adam coming up against temptation and battling it for the right reasons. It certainly makes things more interesting that Adam is a drug addict, and Hughes does a good job of making me feel Adam’s “need” and his battle for and against the drug. It feels so real.

This is a hard series to like with all the stupid things the characters do. And yet, I like the twist that Hughes has put on psychics and this alternate world.

The Story

They’re going to railroad Isabella for the timing and the set-up. It’s too easy and so cowardly that they’ll destroy a good cop.

It puts Adam between a rock and a hard place. He wants to be there for Cherabino, and yet he needs this job. Especially after that vision he’s had.

The Guild doesn’t help much. Seems they’re suddenly hurting for money and the pressure is on Adam to repay his debt.

The Characters

Adam Ward, a Level ?? telepath (after the damage done to his brain, Adam doesn’t know what level he is these days), is in love with Isabella and finally dating her. Swartz is his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor; Adam got hooked on Satin during a Telepaths’ Guild’s experiment. (They kicked him to the curb when they found out.)

Detective Isabella Cherabino, a dedicated cop, has a high close rate at the station. Sensei Rivera steps up as a witness.

DeKalb County PD
Detective Michael is partnered up with Isabella. Sergeant Branen doesn’t like Adam but will use him for interrogations. Chou is brought in to battle against the witch hunt, a hunt in which most of the rules are being broken. And not for Cherabino.

Fulton County PD
Officer Fulton goes from professional to hostile.

Special Agent Jarrod had tried to recruit Adam a few weeks ago. Mendez, Loyola, and Sridian are the special agents brought in. Tanya and Jason are private security hired by the sheriff’s department.

Marissa Parson is the judge sitting the high-profile Pappadakis case. Her son, ten-year-old Tommy, suffered an attempted kidnapping that morning. Seems he has some psychic ability that Adam begins teaching him how to use. Quentin Alexander is the ex-husband who cares more for his son than his ex-wife does. However, he deals too regularly with crooks to have gotten custody.

The Telepaths’ Guild
Edgar Stone is Adam’s Watcher with an ultimatum for him. Margaret is Stone’s twin sister and a strong teleporter. Kara Chenoa is Adam’s traitorous ex-fiancée and in public relations for the Guild.

George Pappadakis, a local (and suspected criminal) businessman, is on trial for murder. Lolly Gilman is the mistress who was killed. Marcia Josepha Garces is Pappadakis’ housekeeper who has tried to ignore what he does. Lila is the cook. Bron Jones is the gardener who tries to protect both women.

Garrett Fiske is a crook no one seems to be able to pin anything on. Blair Sibley is a psychopath that works for him; fortunately, he’s in prison. They thought. Keenan is the man shot who knows nothing.

Basie is part of a theatre group raising funding by selling weapons. The Python is the big boss; people end up dead when they cross him. The Booker set up the kidnapping.

After the war, the world takes serious control of any tech. Mindspace is the space in which minds interact with the world, through a medium no one really understands.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a cobblestoned street in Savannah, a bright yellow light throwing Adam into shadow as he races across the cover in his flowing duster, a crowbar braced on his shoulder with psychic swirls surrounding him, as he desperately searches for a sign of Tommy. The title and author’s name is in a deeper yellow while the series name is settled between them in white.

I think the title is what Adam feels like at the end, Vacant and alone, doing everything he can for the woman he loves.