Isaiah Quintabe, a self-made Sherlock operating out of the same part of Long Beach, Calif., that produced Snoop Dogg, is the completely original star of IQ, Joe Ide’s debut novel ...is apt to be a madly lovable new detective series about this smart guy and the vibrantly drawn criminal culture that surrounds him ... Almost all of the book’s characters speak fluent brag and dis, with the exceptions of strait-laced Isaiah and his beloved older brother, Marcus ...features a duct-tape-carrying creep, an innocent teenage girl and Isaiah, a bystander who picks up enough clues to know instantly that an abduction is in the works ... Mr. Ide packs a lot of action and scenery into the book’s investigation scenes. But he has also built and bolstered Isaiah as a fine, durable character for the long run.
IQ, the debut novel from Los Angeles native Joe Ide — who is new to fiction after a career in film — features a protagonist who will please fans of both traditions, as well as those crime fiction readers who like it both ways ...within the novel where Isaiah Quintabe makes dazzling leaps of reasoning, and there is a spot where he literally fires a grenade launcher. At the heart of the book, though, is the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual growth of its hero, a boy who grows quickly into a man (and a private investigator) after the death of his brother.
Joe Ide, one of this year’s more unlikely first novelists, has produced one of its most enjoyable, offbeat thrillers ... The letters IQ are the initials of the book’s African American hero, Isaiah Quintabe. We see him in 2005, as a teenager, and 2013, in his 20s ... People come to him with problems the police won’t touch but that IQ — a big fan of Sherlock Holmes — solves with Holmes-style analysis ... Strange characters populate the novel ... It’s a mad world that late-blooming Joe Ide has brought forth from his past, a spicy mix of urban horror, youthful striving and show-business absurdity. His IQ is an original and welcome creation.
And Isaiah Quintabe, the protagonist of Joe Ide's debut novel, IQ, is a Sherlock for a very specific neighborhood: South Central L.A. ... The novel runs with parallel narratives — IQ in 2013, doing a 'payday job' for famous rapper Black The Knife, trying to figure out who tried to murder him with a monstrous pitbull, and IQ in 2005, living his backstory as an effortlessly brilliant young teenager forced into bad circumstances by the death of his brother ... He [IQ] is smart, absolutely. He knows things. But the leaps he makes (where a man was hiding to avoid security cameras, for example) are more modest than those epic Sherlockian jumps ... It's a detective story that plays out very close to home, on the streets and corners that Ide (who grew up in South Central) knows best.
...American writer Joe Ide now begins a series of novels relocating the brain of Baker Street to South Central Los Angeles ... In common with all renovated Holmeses, Isaiah is notable for noticing, although, when complimented on his deductive skills, characteristically corrects the compliment, pointing out that the process he employs is, in fact, 'induction,' in which a broader truth is drawn from a particular detail, rather than 'deduction,' which does the opposite ... Paragraphs crackle with one-liners that capture telling details about a person...between the jokes, there is also serious critique of an American society willing to sacrifice so many (disproportionately black) lives through its gun laws and educational policies ... Promisingly, the first book succeeds in being both highly original and continuing the spirit of Conan Doyle.
Author Joe Ide incorporates those attributes into an original story and character. IQ delivers a moving, yet action-packed plot that never disappoints as it looks at rap music, a community and a young man trying to find his place in the world ... 'IQ' is Isaiah Quintabe, who earned the nickname that he hates because of his intellect and observation powers ... He takes on cases the police could not or would not get involved in, and his latest assignment could pay a lot more than what he usually gets ... The brisk plot of IQ is balanced by the intriguing character of Isaiah, inexperienced in the ways of the world but with intelligence that makes him anything but naive. Forever searching for the driver who killed his brother, Isaiah needs redemption ... Ide’s storytelling skills don’t waver as IQ delivers realistic twists and a solid finale.
Sherlock Holmes comes to South Central Los Angeles. Only he’s black, never finished high school, and can’t seem to hold on to a regular job ... Unlike Holmes or other flamboyant 'consulting detectives' whose powers of ratiocination have held readers’ imaginations captive since the Victorian era, Isaiah Quintabe, young, gifted, and nonchalantly brilliant, displays few distinguishable quirks beyond a formidable attention span that misses nothing ... In his debut novel, Ide, a Japanese-American who grew up in the same neighborhood as his mercurial characters, flashes agility with streetwise lingo, facility with local color, and empathy with even the most dissolute of his characters ...the roughhousing energy, vivid language, and serrated wit Ide displays throughout this maiden effort make Isaiah Quintabe seem a potential rejuvenator of a grand literary tradition.
Ide successfully makes his detective’s brilliance plausible in this gripping and moving debut, which makes effective use of flashbacks ... Isaiah, who becomes known by his initials because of his intellect, devotes himself to trying to identify the man who killed Marcus ... He develops a reputation as an expert problem solver and takes on a high-profile assignment, to identify the person who ordered an unusual hit on Calvin Wright, the rapper known as Black the Knife. The plot has some over-the-top aspects, but overall the concept works.