IQ by Joe Ide
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Someone is gunning for rapper Black the Knife and he hires Isaiah Quintabe to find the killer. Can IQ stop the killer and the people who hired him before Black the Knife takes the big dirt nap?
Mullholland denies me for everything on Netgalley so when they sent me an invitation to read this one, I almost passed out of spite. I'm glad I didn't.
IQ is the first mystery starring Isaiah Quintabe and I hope there are many more to come. IQ is a high school dropout who takes cases for whatever people can pay. This book tells two tales, the current case involving Black the Knife and another tale of how Isaiah came to be who he is.
I really got into the book's parallel structure. The twin tales of Isaiah, one in the present day and the other in the past, did a lot to get me behind IQ. IQ is like a young black Sherlock Holmes, although not as much of an asshole. He's got a lot of knowledge and inductive reasoning skills in his cranium but is far from behind a super hero. Dodson, his Watson, isn't a sycophant like Holmes' sidekick either. The two have an adversarial relationship at times and it does a lot to set this book apart from similar ones.
The writing is pretty slick, particularly in the dialogue. East Long Beach felt real to me and the dialogue reminded me of Elmore Leonard or George Pelecanos, authentic and readable. There was also a fair bit of comedy.
The villain of the present day case was fairly believable and more than a little scary. The way Isaiah and Dodson eventually handled things, again, didn't make them look like super heroes. By the end, who hired the hitman to kill Black the Knife was almost an afterthought. I sure didn't figure it out.
Isaiah's not the most sympathetic character until the story delves into his troubled past with his brother and Dodson. By the time the two stories dovetailed together, I knew I was hooked on the series for the long haul.
If you're looking to jump aboard a new detective series at the ground floor, IQ is a little different than most of the crime books on the racks. IQ reads like an episode of Sherlock written by George Pelecanos. Four out of five stars.
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