Mulholland Books/Little Brown, $26.00, 321 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-26772-4
One sure way to know you’re reading a great book, is when you just don’t want it to end. Perhaps it’s because you’ve found the main character to be so fascinating, endearing or heroic that you don’t want to break contact with him; or the story is so compelling, you have to know, What happens next? Those are the novels we remember and tell others about . . . maybe even re-read some time. This week the MBR has just such a character by a debut author, and the shortest title we’ve ever seen.
IQ by Joe Ide, instantly transports the reader from that cozy book nook and plunges her into the mean, drug and gang-infested streets of south central Los Angeles at Long Beach, where we meet Isaiah Quintabe—otherwise known as IQ. He’s a high school dropout and self-taught detective whose low-key style and quiet nature disguise his colossal intelligence. He’s the one the neighborhood folks turn to in their high-crime area to solve the murders, missing persons cases, robberies, kidnappings, and all types of other crimes that the LAPD either won’t, or can’t, be bothered with. IQ is flexible too. Money’s tight. It’s not always easy to come up with, so he’ll adjust his fees to fit your ability to pay . . . which can make it tough for the unlicensed Private Investigator to pay his bills at times. Times like now. IQ hasn’t had a cash-paying client in months. Nearly desperate, he takes on a case he’d usually turn down: that of a hip-hop mogul and gangsta rap artist whose life has been threatened by persons unknown. The suspect list is long, and includes several disgruntled employees, a couple of hangers-on, an attack dog that’s the size of a Shetland pony and a professional hit man who never misses. It’s more than he bargained for . . . and almost too much for IQ to overcome as he pits his intellect and inductive reasoning skills against the thugs and killers, envious competitors and the mean streets he was born and raised upon. IQ is the most unique character you’ll encounter in a long long time . . . and one you’ll not forget. Read the book and make his acquaintance. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll also find yourself telling all your friends about it . . . and dying for the next book to come out so you can reconnect with young Isaiah Quintabe . . . whom we all know as IQ!