Fluid by Alex Hughes
How do you define “good” and “bad” when it comes to people? Good people do bad things and bad people do good things. Who gets respect and who doesn’t, and for what? These are the big questions Adam faces in Fluid.
Author: Alex Hughes
Series: Mindspace Investigations Book 4.5 (novella)
Publish Date: October 27, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction/Urban Fantasy
Source: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Publisher’s Description: Good Cop, Bad Cop.
A prominent journalist has been found dead, a journalist investigating police corruption. I’m supposed to be working in my new P. I. firm, but the money’s not enough so I’m back consulting for the police as a telepath. Turns out this case is a doozy—the journalist was an addict, even worse than I was before I cleaned up my act. But he saved some kids from a sweatshop years ago, and then there’s this corruption thing he’s looking into, which makes all the cops sweat.
The police’s Powers That Be would really, really like to have the journalist’s death be an accident—the physical evidence even points in that direction. In Mindspace, however, it’s clearly murder. With increasing pressure on myself and Detective Freeman to drop this case, I’ll have to fight my way through to find the killer. And worse? If it’s one of the cops who did the killing, I don’t know if they’ll get justice, or me get paid.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)
I had a bit of a hard time coping with this novella. I had to take a step back and grasp the new dynamic of the relationship between Adam Ward and Isabella Cherabino. It’s new. The nice, neat pigeon holed roles the characters had is now changed. It’s not like it used to be, with Cheribino an Adam busting the criminals. The story has moved into fresh territory which will give the characters a lot more room to grow.
I admit I am an idealist. I like books that have the white hats win. I like to see the bad guy get what’s coming to them. Alex Hughes yanked me out of my comfort zone and showed me that Fluid is exactly as it sounds. “Fluid” describes justice as it ebbs and flows. We might not get justice as cleanly executed and wrapped up with a bow as we want, but hopefully, sooner or later, karma kicks in and justice will prevail. What else can we hope for? I know, I know. Getting pretty deep, huh? On to the review.
I LOVE this series. The characters are so vivid and dimensional that I sometimes have problems with their attitudes. Pretty awesome writing is what makes that happen. In this story, we pick up one month after the last book. Cherabino is grumpy. Distant. Cold. Well, what else is new? She can’t give Adam a break no matter what. I want to tell her to move on already. So, you lost your job. What of it? It’s done. Over with. Grab on to the opportunity to make a new life. One of her own choosing. One with her own rules. Ah, well….it’s not to be. This is not a story about Cherabino. It’s about Adam…..and a little bit about the stigma addiction brings to the table. It’s also about Adam learning the painful lesson of “Ya just can’t win ’em all.” He is forced to admit that the “good” guys do come out on the short end of the stick once in awhile. It’s about the deals that are struck by bad people because the champions can’t make the bad stick to them. The concept sucks, it really does. Someone gets away with something because they make a deal to rat out somebody else. Well, what do you do? Maybe in this case it will have to be enough. Hopefully, some good will come out of a bad situation. Kind of like the quote, “When a door closes, a window opens.” Alex has designed characters that are so deep and easy to relate to that I forget they are characters.
Seriously, if you are looking for a series, this one is an absolute MUST for your library. I remember when bought the the first in the series to read, I was hesitant because to me it was a crap shoot. Do I try a new author? I could go with something safe instead of new. Do I spend the money on an unknown? I was having one of those ‘what the hell’ moments, so I took the chance. I am so very glad I did. Life for these characters is often not fair, they sometimes don’t win, but Alex made sure they pulled me in for the long haul. I will always be a fan of Alex Hughes and the Mindspace Investigations. I can’t recommend it enough.
I have so missed Adam, Cherabino, and all the characters in the Mindspace Investigations series! It seems like a long ten months since Vacant. Isn’t that always the way with series you love? 🙂
When we last left our beloved heroes (that’s a sign that spoilers are coming, btw), Adam and Cherabino were starting their own P.I. firm. Fluid shows us one of the early days of the firm, one where Adam and Cherabino are working separate cases.
Adam’s case involves the death of a journalist who has been exposing corruption among the police. Problem is, the journalist is an alcoholic whose death appears to be the result of his drinking. Adam knows he was murdered, but has a hard time getting anyone to care too much about the death of an “alcoholic.”
Being an addict himself, that leads Adam to wonder — does being an addict negate all the good you try to do? Can you be an addict and still be seen as a good person. Does being something good, like a cop, negate the bad things you do? And what if doing something bad ultimately leads to good? Where do you draw the line between good and bad when most people are a little of both?
As thought-provoking as this story is, Adam and Cherabino don’t have much “screen” time together. That made me sad. BUT… rumor has it there may be a companion novella that describes what Cherabino is doing during the time Fluid is taking place. So I’ll be looking forward to that, as well as Book 5 when it comes out next year.
If you like this book, try…
…the rest of the Mindspace Investigation series. Really, it’s awesome!