For the past few years, I had been meaning to read one of Joe Ide’s I.Q. novels. Friends and writers I admire have been raving about this series that follows Isaiah “I.Q.” Quintabe, a young, black man who services his East Long Beach area as an unlicensed detective with Sherlock-level skills. When I got the opportunity to read his latest, Hi Five, I became hooked.
The book gives us a great premise that immediately puts I.Q. in a tight spot. Angus Burns, a white supremacist gun dealer, comes to him. His daughter Christiana is the main suspect in the murder of his right hand man. I.Q. has to clear her name or Angus will break the hands of his violinist girlfriend, Stella. Christiana witnessed the killing, but suffers from multiple personality disorder. I.Q. must bring out each of them and piece together what each of them saw. If that’s not enough, we also have a power struggle in the illegal arms centered around a modern Gatling gun.
As great as the plot is, it’s the human elements that pull you into the book. Ide’s East Long Beach community is as rich and holds as many many human beings with heart as Craig Johnson’s Absaroka County and Louis Penny’s Three Pines, with I.Q. as it’s protector, who sees it as something worth protecting. His friendships and relationships have both a messiness and deep emotion to them that make them feel real and flow instead of
remaining static. This is very much with his buddy Cahill who knows I.Q. needs to have someone watching his back even though he doesn’t always understand where he’s going. The danger he puts Stella in has I.Q. wondering if he should be with her. It’s a relationship that gets further tested when his old flame returns.
Ide put me in tune with this world and these people so well, I felt like I had read all the previous books. That said, I look forward to reading the others. Hi Five is one of those fine genre novels that work on so many different levels. Most of all, it has beautifully rendered people dealing with their place in life and connection to others, something you need to be smarter than I.Q. to figure out.
About the author: Joe Ide grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where his favorite books were the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. He held a variety of different jobs — including Hollywood screenwriter — before writing IQ, his debut novel, which went on to win the Anthony, Macavity, and Shamus awards. Joe lives in Santa Monica, CA.
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[…] and connection to others, something you need to be smarter than I.Q. to figure out.” Read the full review here, and grab your copy […]