IQ

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 5 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

For the most part, this was an enjoyable romp. The characters were amusing and the story sped along. I especially enjoyed the back story to Isiah and Dodson's relationship.

My main issue with the book was the misogyny. Women appear in only 10% of the book and in 8% of that they're either 'skanks' or 'hos' or 'bitches'. and figures of fun for being none too bright and we're told exactly what they're wearing and how their asses look in that outfit. Even the doctor, we're told, is "bony but fit". Something to look out for in future books in the series.
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I'm sure lots of readers will enjoy Isaiah and his side kick Dodson who are the two fairly unlikely "investigators " especially the humour in the book but I'm sorry to say the limited gangsta style took any pleasure of reading it from me. It's not that there isn't plenty going on just more that I didnt relax with the language... American or younger audiences will disagree.
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I read of some references to Sherlock Holmes in the praises but there is more of Dickens also, who wrote about poverty and the rich, and pursuit of happiness.
There is a real potent voice created by the author Joe Ide, he has crafted a tale about the alternative American dream the other side of the fences tale, a tale of poetic justice in ways, in pursuit of happinesses and what people in the concrete jungle will do for it.
These characters within the pages are all about second chances, they come at your with right hooks not straight down barrel punches types the ones you can see so well, street smarts, and witty dialogue he’s not your average detective sipping on alcohol he's a expresso drinker.
A Sherlock Holmes tale could be in the theatres, on stage, this tale could be in the fight ring.
Isaiah would be Ali with his one liners and metaphors that has you laugh many a time in this tale and his opponent would be ideally Sonny Liston but in this tale its more like Primo Carnera except he’s on all fours in this tale commanded by a real bad one.
The main protagonist Isaiah Quintabe (I.Q) is a likeable and memorable character who keeps it real, a real deal detective, his life described right from his beginnings with his tumbles and falls to his making it right having a second chance as a detective with some poetic justice.
Joe Ide raised in South Central LA must have had plenty of material around him to incorporate upon the page and may have plenty to write giving his voice and works original and fresh to the detective genre.
His writing is like that of Joe Lonsdale creator of duo Hap and Leonard and some Don Winslow.
The same sharp writing with potent prose, the same bang on dialogue and clear scenes, that has you being there in the thick of of it all and the same social commentary.
Isaiah Quintabe is one that the reader will love to hear more of and thats not far off as another chapter in his life comes in Righteous an IQ novel in 10/17/17. I caught this one late but not too late so that i can have I.Q fresh in my mind to read the next book soon.
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IQ is a college dropout with a past he regrets, and is not the easiest person to get along with. Yet he is the go-to-guy for the local community as a solver of crimes. They pay with whatever they can afford, but now IQ needs some extra cash. The only way to do that is by Juanell Dodson, the local fixer and drug dealer hooking him up with a wealthy client, Calvin Wright, aka Cal, a rapper who appears to have lost the plot, and whose life is in danger. Can IQ stop the potential assassin before it’s too late?
IQ might be a difficult novel for some readers to get into because the banter between the characters takes a while to get tuned into. However, persevere with it and you become immersed in a culture where crime, and trying to stay out of its way, is just something you live with. The trick to surviving and making something of your life is to keep your sense of humour and your friends close.
The interplay between the key characters, their strong bonds, and IQ’s ruminations are what makes this book. This is largely done through the dialogue which, bit by bit, enders you to the main protagonists until you feel you really don’t want to walk away from them when you’ve finished reading.
The complex relationship between the reticent and focused IQ and his best friend Juanell Dodson is an interesting one. Think Sherlock Holmes and Watson, only Watson is far from subtle and restrained, frequently getting himself and others around him into a spectacular mess.
But out of all the characters, Deronda, a girl on a constant hunt for someone to pay her bills, was my favourite, for her sass, speaking her mind and her ability to make the best of a bad job. I am looking forward to enjoying more of her expansive personality in the future.
It is a plus that the characters are so well written, because it is nearly a quarter of the way through the book before IQ begins investigating the threat on the rapper’s life, so this is where the story could be said to really take off. But on reading through the early part of the book again I began to realise it was one of those stories where the more you read the more nuances you pick up, and the better it gets with each reading. The plot does jump around a bit while developing IQs’ background, which can be distracting, but there is a sense that now IQs world is bedded down Joe Ide can get down to the serious business of creating a series of books centred around IQ’s unique solving crime capabilities.
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This is a contemporary and edgy 'in the hood' reinterpretation of Sherlock Holmes with its distinctive take on The Hound of the Baskervilles. It is set in East Long Beach, where the young black Isaiah Quintabe, IQ as he is known as, is Sherlock. His Watson is the criminal Dodson, selling drugs, involved in the LA gang culture, who sees the opportunity to criminally prosper, using IQ's exceptional talent. Their relationship is fraught and conflict ridden. They obviously have a past which did not end well. There are two time lines, one in 2006 which explains IQ's traumatic history, his relationship with Dodson, and his guilt over a tragic event which led to an estrangement with Dodson. In 2013, IQ is well known in the community for solving cases the LAPD have no interest in. The only problem is that his clientele are poor, so he often does not get paid, or gets paid in pies, tyres, chickens and the like and IQ needs a lot of cash in his search for redemption. 

Isaiah's elder brother, Marcus, who expected great things from him that would benefit the community, is killed in a hit and run. A devastated and griefstricken Isaiah finds himself withdrawing from school, and tries to find the driver responsible for Marcus's death. This puts him in desperate financial straits, culminating in Dodson moving into his home. What follows is a descent into criminal activity that ends in tragedy and the beginning of his relationship with Flaco, who is obsessed with Margaret Cho. Dodson brings a rap star, Cal, as a client who is willing to pay megabucks if they can find out who is trying to murder him. A video shows a monstrously sized pitbull assassin dog aiming to kill Cal in his home. IQ and Dodson dig deep to see who has motive in wanting the drug dependent Cal dead and chasing down an insane hit man. There are a host of suspects that include Cal's ex-wife, Noelle and others close to him.

The dead Marcus serves as Isaiah's conscience, pushing him to return to his moral roots and acting as the spur to eventually rebuild his life after it became a car crash. IQ is our flawed Sherlock in the modern world, he is quirky, clever, and determined, and LA is the perfect setting for this novel and its hero with its strong sense of location. Joe Ide has created a character I adored and engaged with, wanting to know more about him. Ide pulls us into the story with IQ chasing a man who has nefarious plans with a young girl he has just abducted. It is a successful ploy because I was absolutely and instantly hooked. This is not a perfect book, but it is an impressive and unique crime debut that I loved. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.
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Isaiah Quintabe is living a life full of promise when suddenly his older brother dies in a tragic accident and Isaiah is left scrabbling to find a meaning to his life while desperately trying to avoid social services knocking at his door. He finds a roommate in drug dealer Dodson and the two of them strike up an uneasy partnership than nearly ends in disaster and becomes another turning point in Isaiah's life. Fast forward several years and Isaiah, or IQ, as he is known in his neighbourhood is an unofficial fixer for anyone with a problem they can't or won't get the police involved with. Often working in exchange for favours or food, IQ finds himself on the verge of a huge payday when Dodson presents him with the case of an attempted assassination on rap megastar Black the Knife. 

IQ is billed as a sort of modern day Sherlock Holmes, but his ability hasn't always come to him naturally, he's worked hard and trained himself to notice every little detail. A skill he started learning in order to find the hit and run driver who killed his brother. IQ is not a perfect character, the story goes back and forth in time and in the aftermath of his brother's death he makes several calamitous decisions which have lifelong effects. Dodson has skated even further off the moral compass and the two have a unlikely and tense partnership throughout the book. 

The characters are well rounded and don't veer into cliche, which could have been easily done in less able hands, especially Black the Knife. The story unfolds at fast pace and I enjoyed the slow reveal of the background of IQ and Dodson's relationship. The language is suitably gritty and hard boiled for a detective novel and the action sequences really come alive on the page. 

I'm really pleased to see that this is the first in an ongoing series. The characters in this book have a lot more to give and I'm excited to see what the author has in store next for IQ. I love books that transport me into a world I'm unfamiliar with and this one has done an excellent job. I eagerly await the next instalment. 

I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
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7.5/10

I saw this flash up on NetGalley and remembered reading a review from a couple of my friends and recalled them praising it. I’ve never heard of the author and I’d no real idea of the plot as I clicked the trusty request button. I’ve fallen foul of this a couple of times before, clicking request on an unknown author about an unknown book with some vague recollection of someone saying they didn’t mind it. This is one of the few times I didn’t regret my clicky clicky habit. 

I like crime novels, probably my go to genre if I’m honest, and this was that. A crime novel, with a detective element. Usual fare really. What made it stand out from the crowd was the type of detective I.Q. (Isaiah Quintabe to give him his full (stupid) name) was. Sure, he was a know it all. Solving crimes in unthinkable fashion, such as sniffing a faint element from the moon and knowing the exact time the murder occurred kind of sleuth. But, he’s a sleuth from the hood. He used to be hoodlum himself and he’s trying to get away from that with the guidance of his dead brother by helping folk and solving crimes.

What could have been quite a trashy novel turned out to be good fun. There were parts which were a little bit generic and some characters blended into others but IQ and the main few were interesting and the flashbacks really added to the story. There were times when I just wanted to read more about IQ’s past and not about the mystery that he was entangled with in the present. The ending was a little rushed and not a massive reveal to make it feel like a nice pay off but still a decent enough conclusion. 

I’d be happy to recommend this to people as a fun easy read with a crime background set slightly different from the majority of procedural fiction. I’d happily read more by the author and even more in this world with these characters should it be turned into a series (which seems to be the thing to do).
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I enjoyed the linguistic authenticity of this and the wayward dynamic between Isaiah and Dodson but have to admit to only liking rather than loving the book overall. The premise is a fresh one: a young, black Sherlock Holmes-alike intellect transplanted to LA and working cases that the police won't touch for whatever the client can afford, even if that's only a sweet potato pie. Only the case that takes up the main space in the book is that of a rich rapper, so doesn't really fit the remit... even though Isaiah has a good reason for wanting the money. 

Interspersed with this is the back story of Isaiah and I have to say it's a rather corny, Hollywood, moral redemption plot that I could see in its entirety from very early on. The fast-switch chapters disrupt the present story and stopped me getting as involved as I should have been.

Ide's writing feels natural especially in the dialogue but there are awkward issues in the structure, pacing and technical aspects of the book. For example, we have a prologue from the POV of a character who is minor and fundamentally outside of the main story. There are also jarring switches in POV midway through chapters. These give a feeling of an author not yet in control of their craft and sorting these issues out would have given a smoother, more polished feel to the narrative.

For all my niggles, there's a natural energy to the writing and some great humour amongst the bleakness. For me, Dodson is the standout character - far more interesting than the now-saintly Isaiah.
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Top marks. Must read.

Completely delicious! A fabulous journey into Tarantino-esque dialog and characters, a bling noir, a poor black's Sherlock and money-driven, a'hole Watson, a completely guilty pleasure.

The two main threads of the story: 2005 -Isaiah after a terrible loss slowing bonding/hating Dodson, and 2013 - the bling noir of them "working together" to solve the mystery. Both threads worked well for me, the first tragic and inevitably sad and somewhat desperate, and the second more like a Sherlockian mystery, but with a "knownledge base" suited to the hoods of modern L.A.

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale all the way through, but I must admit the first half of the book had better pacing and fun.

Top marks. Must read.
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I thought this was really good.  IQ is a very well written, exciting and sometimes funny book which also paints quite a penetrating picture of rapper and gang life in LA.

The IQ of the title is Isaiah Quintabe.  He is a moral, highly intelligent young man who has become a sort of unofficial detective to his community of poor black people in LA.  He also has to deal with very rich rappers and gangsters, and with the gangs which are an endemic part of life in his area.  He deals with a number of cases with his sort-of-sidekick Dodson, who is not moral by any means, creating a great comic tension between them.  Principally, they are engaged to find out who is trying to kill a prominent rapper.  The story is well paced, gripping and neatly intercut with the story from an earlier time which eventually explains how IQ came to be as he is.

The book is very well written, with elements of Sherlock and also of The Sellout, although it's different from both.  The setting and dialogue are exceptionally well done.  I liked this little early exchange, for example, between Isaiah and a young woman he knows, which I found funny and also insightful about attitudes:
"I'm an up-and-comer, you know what I'm sayin'? I was *born* to be a celebrity.  I should have the spotlight all over me."
"Spotlight all over you – for what?" Isaiah said.
"What do you mean for what? That Kardashian girl's booty could fit *inside* my booty and you talking about for what.  You know she made thirty million last year?"

(Do be aware that the language is appropriate to the setting, so the f-word appears frequently as do a lot of other swear words.  I think it's absolutely right in the context, but if you're offended by it, then this won't be for you.)

This looks as if it will be the start of a great series.  I'll be looking out for the next one, and I can recommend IQ very warmly.

(I received an ARC via Netgalley.)
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