Private Investigator Isaiah “IQ” Quintabe is back for another adventure in Joe Ide’s (Righteous, 2017) exceptional third novel.
IQ’s Long Beach-based PI firm has officially taken off. However, while Quintabe’s popularity soars, his bank account apparently never gets the memo. While solving all the problems in his neighborhood has him well-liked by everyone in the area, IQ’s reputation for taking non-money forms of payment has gotten around. That’s great if you’re in need of a Christmas sweater, which one client offered to trade for his services, but it isn’t exactly paying the bills.
To turn things around financially, Dodson, who is now a full-time business partner, has a vision of taking IQ’s services mainstream, even going as far as to set up a Facebook page and do a little advertising. More of a street hustler than his genius detective counterpart, Dodson adopts a new no-more-freebies policy. Things, though, don’t go according to plan when Grace Monarova enters IQ’s world and needs help.
An up-and-coming artist, Grace approaches IQ and asks him to help her track down her mother, Sarah. In exchange, she offers him a painting, which he accepts . . . more because he’s sweet on Grace, and less because he has a perfect spot on the wall all picked out to hang a new piece of art. As Quintabe goes to work, he learns rather quickly that Grace failed to tell him a few key details about her mother’s current situation. Like, for example, that she’s a prime murder witness and in possession of sensitive evidence that could be seriously bad news for a private security firm led by ex-commando Stan Walczak, who used questionable interrogation methods to question prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Unbeknownst to IQ, following Sarah’s trail puts him on a collision course with Walczak, though he’s hardly the only threat in Quintabe’s way.
On a deeper level, Seb Habimana, the African-born Oxford grad, remains IQ’s true adversary. His presence is once again lurking in the background, and while Walczak poses a physical threat to Quintabe, Seb is more dangerous due to his ability to match IQ’s intellect. Playing Moriarty to IQ’s Sherlock Holmes, Seb is both ruthless and cunning, and the mind games between the two characters are perfectly written, providing the proverbial cherry on top to Ide’s delicious, high-powered plot.
While the story works well as a standalone, newcomers would benefit from starting at the series’ beginning, as Ide’s body of work, albeit a small sample size, has been nothing short of incredible. There’s a lot of Sherlock Holmes knockoffs, but Ide, while offering some similarities, delivers a refreshing take on the often clichéd genius detective protagonist, re-inventing the character as a black, street-smart millennial from Long Beach. Isaiah Quintabe is brilliant, but it’s Ide’s writing that elevates the whole series, with his gritty prose proving to be a perfect fit with the series’ urban setting. While parts of the story are shown ahead of time, reducing some of the suspense, even the readers who do figure out or take a lucky stab at the story’s conclusion will enjoy the journey Ide takes them on, and will no doubt close this one counting down the days until the fourth installment hits bookstores next years.
While Ide’s first novel (IQ) reads like a true mystery, his second book (Righteous) took on a psychological thriller-like feel. Continuing that trend, Wrecked has more action, wrapped around a smart plot, than both previous books combined — and his ability to change things up, while still finding ways to develop his characters and deliver compelling storylines, keeps the series fresh and unique. Bottom line, Joe Ide is one of the best writers to burst onto the mystery scene in a long time. . . if you’ve yet to discover his must-read IQ series, don’t wait another second.
Author: Joe Ide
Series: IQ #3
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.