Series: IQ #1
Published by Mulholland Books on October 18th 2016
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores.
East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood's high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can't or won't touch. They call him IQ. He's a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he's forced to take on clients that can pay. This time, it's a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes.
Winner of the Anthony, Macavity, and Shamus Awards
What a refreshing read! I’ve been trying to read more mysteries, and IQ by Joe Ide was exactly what I needed. This was my first audiobook of the year, and it set the bar pretty high for the rest of 2018.
Isaiah Quintabe (IQ) has been described as another Sherlock Holmes, and that’s absolutely true, but there’s so much more to him than that. There are similarities, to be sure. He sees connections that others don’t, and he’s always at least 10 steps ahead of everyone around him. It’s one of the reasons he’s gained a reputation among his peers as someone who’ll step in and solve your problems when the police won’t. Sometimes his clients pay him in money, sometimes they pay him in pie or tires or something else, sometimes they don’t pay him at all. He’s ok with whatever they can do because he knows they need his help. Another thing that differentiates him from Sherlock, either the original or our current iterations, is that he uses common sense, knowledge of his neighborhood and the people in it, and research to figure out what’s going on. He doesn’t depend on obscure, esoteric knowledge of something like the migration pattern of the snapping turtle to solve crimes.
His version of Watson is a man named Dodson, who IQ doesn’t fully trust, but who has been a part of IQ’s life since high school. He’s a hustler, always running cons and get-rich-quick schemes, and when he comes to IQ with a potential case, IQ is initially reluctant to take it on. He doesn’t trust Dodson, and after hearing the details of the case, he’s still not convinced. But the potential payday is huge, so he agrees to at least talk to the client.
The client is a local rap star, Black the Knife, who thinks someone is trying to kill him. He won’t leave the house anymore, in fact, he has completely shut himself in his house with only his trusted friends and employees (sycophants) allowed to see him. But is someone trying to kill him? Black’s grip on reality is slipping, and the people he has surrounded himself with aren’t convinced that anyone is actually trying to murder him. There isn’t much to go on with the case; just a video of a large blurry dog trying to attack Black at his own home. But even with just that, IQ is able to read into, get clues that everyone else missed and start figuring out what’s going on.
On its face, the case is simple – is someone trying to kill Black, and if so, who? But as IQ and Dodson get further into it, they realize that it goes a lot further and a lot deeper than they expected. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns in this book, and I had a great time trying to keep up with IQ and Dodson. (By twists and turns, I don’t mean a big plot twist.)
We also go back and forth in time with IQ from the current 2013 case he’s working with Black the Knife, and to 2005 when he was growing up and the events that shaped who he is today. We get multiple points of view as well, hearing from the hitman as well as IQ himself. It did get a little convoluted from time to time because of that, but I think that’s just a factor of listening to an audiobook. If I glanced over to see what my dog was barking at, I could easily miss a time jump or POV switch. That’s my fault, though, not the book’s.
The narration by Sullivan Jones was great. He was able to make all of the characters sound different enough that I could tell them apart without needing to be told who was speaking. The female characters sounded just as good as the men – there was none of that fake falsetto shit I’ve heard from so many male narrators. I listened to this slightly sped up, as I do with most of my audiobooks, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the experience.
This is a great start to a new series. The second book, Righteous, is out already, and it promises to be just as enjoyable as this one. I’m looking forward to digging into that one shortly as well.