If you are looking for a unique and edgy crime/mystery novel, Joe Ide's debut book may be the one.
Isaiah Quintabe lives a tough survival of the fittest life within a raw “street” culture of posturing, gang violence, and criminal activity. He struggles with demons from his past, and ways to make things right, becoming an unintentional hero in the process.
Driven and scarred by witnessing a serious unsolved crime, Isaiah teaches himself to become vigilant and notice details. Intelligence far beyond street smarts, and an brilliant mechanical aptitude are his biggest assets. Needing to keep a roof over his head, he is lead into a life of thievery by his drug dealing friend Dodson. Forged from his background and criminal past, is a mind that Isaiah realizes that he can use to a productive advantage, to make money and help others.
When someone attempts murder a rapper using very unconventional means, Dodson secures big bucks for himself and Isaiah, if they can track down who's responsible. They immerse themselves in a dangerous world to find the facts.
IQ is written in two parts; when the Isaiah and Dodson are 17, and nine years later. This reader was immediately hooked by the exploration of the psyche of someone who, for almost 40 pages, appeared to be the main character. It was disappointing when there was a change in course.
There are many details and extraneous characters; people Isaiah encounters along the way. Tracking isn't always smooth, so the reader is never sure if a new segment is going to go somewhere.
IQ contains violence and sleuthing, but comparing it (as the cover suggests) even in part, to the brilliant Tarantino and Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, is too generous in this reader's opinion, especially when the book is far from seamless. That being said, IQ's prominent players are interesting and well developed. Likewise, Ide's descriptions provide a window into the rough and violent street life and culture.