In Joe Ide’s wonderful debut novel, readers meet Isaiah Quintabe, a young man whose tragic past has led him not to finish high school and to take odd jobs in order to survive. Living in East Long Beach he sees the police department overwhelmed and not able to solve the mass of crimes that overrun his hometown. In a series of fateful twists, which are shown in emotional flashbacks, he finds himself solving neighborhood crimes, big and small, and being paid for his work in a variety of ways. From money to food, whatever his clients can afford, will suit Isaiah. Although, he meets men and women from all walks of life, and even though he is willing to lend his talents, he must also always be on the lookout for a case that will pay enough to cover his bills. That’s not to say he takes every case that comes his way, but he has a soft spot for people in need.
This time, in order to make money and help out loved ones, he must take the case of a rap star who is facing assassination attempts. There have been credible threats and attacks to his life. Isaiah investigates and uncovers an ex-wife out for revenge, notorious characters, an attack dog and a hitman with deep emotional problems who does not appreciate Isaiah’s meddling. IQ has a surrounding cast of characters that both drives and centers Isaiah. There is Juanell Dodson, an ex-high school classmate who often works on the shadier side of life, drawing Isaiah in until Isaiah pulls out of unlawful work to concentrate on lawful work. They team up to save a life, starting what I hope to be a long-running series.
For those who love realistic Sherlock Holmes-esque characters (geniuses who tackle issues and cases daily, and a story set in the present), then definitely pick up this book. After reading this debut novel I thought IQ is a book ripe for being the start of a wonderful and enthralling series, and so it is. The second book Righteous is due to be published later this year, and a possible television series is in the works. Joe Ide is a local author, and I’m very intrigued to read his next novel.