Pros: Fascinatingly bizarre characters
Cons: Messy time jumps
Rating: 4 out of 5
As we join the characters of Joe Ide’s IQ, an obviously eeeeevil man tries to kidnap a little girl. IQ (Isaiah Quintabe), using his quick thinking and clever mind, goes after the man and the girl. It’s a great ‘resume’ entry–like the chase scene at the beginning of a Bond movie, it shows exactly who and what IQ is. He obsesses over things that are ‘not quite right’, out of place, etc., so he notices things others don’t. His not-quite-sidekick, Dodson, is annoying but occasionally people-clever, and between the two of them, they almost have a winning PI team. Ever since IQ’s brother Marcus died, IQ can’t stop trying to make things better, in one way or another.
Now, rapper ‘Black the Knife’ (Cal) needs IQ’s help. Someone’s trying to kill him, and sent a lunatic assassin after him. When one attack doesn’t work, he tries another: like sending a huge, extremely aggressive pit bull that’s been trained to kill. While Cal has a nervous breakdown, IQ and Dodson take on the case. IQ prefers to help people who typically can’t afford his services, but he has to pay his rent, and this is a high-paying gig.
There’s a fascinating side-bar on large dogs and on the ways in which some people turn them into attack dogs. (It isn’t in any way anti-pit bull; it makes the case that the people who train and breed them this way are to blame.) Despite the fact that it could have been labeled as a brief infodump, I thought it was fascinating.
Pretty much the only thing I really wasn’t fond of was the time jumps. It got messy as to what happened when. I really wish authors would show restraint on flashbacks and other time-bending effects. Most of the time they just muddy the waters and confuse readers. (There’s only one version of this that I completely tolerate: Peter Clines’s use of simply “Then” and “Now” as chapter headings.)
The characters are fantastic. Even Dodson, who seems like a total buffoon at the start, has his tricks, his hidden depths, and some truly fantastic ambition (enough for him and IQ both). While IQ spends so much time in his own head that he practically needs a keeper. Watching the characters try to handle gang wars and empty wallets gets to be rather entertaining.
I wish the book hadn’t jumped around in time so much, for so little good reason. It seems to be catching on lately as a style; I hope it’s a short-lived one. Other than that, I really enjoyed IQ!
Free book received from publisher for this review
Estimated book publication date: October 18, 2016