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IQ by Joe Ide. Book Review

August 10, 2017


IQ is a college dropout with a past he regrets, and is not the easiest person to get along with. Yet he is the go-to-guy for the local community as a solver of crimes. They pay with whatever they can afford, but now IQ needs some extra cash. The only way to do that is by Juanell Dodson, the local fixer and drug dealer hooking him up with a wealthy client, Calvin Wright, aka Cal, a rapper who appears to have lost the plot, and whose life is in danger. Can IQ stop the potential assassin before it’s too late?

IQ might be a difficult novel for some readers to get into because the banter between the characters takes a while to get tuned into. However, persevere with it and you become immersed in a culture where crime, and trying to stay out of its way, is just something you live with. The trick to surviving and making something of your life is to keep your sense of humour and your friends close.

The interplay between the key characters, their strong bonds, and IQ’s ruminations are what makes this book. This is largely done through the dialogue which, bit by bit, enders you to the main protagonists until you feel you really don’t want to walk away from them when you’ve finished reading.

The complex relationship between the reticent and focused IQ and his best friend Juanell Dodson is an interesting one. Think Sherlock Holmes and Watson, only Watson is far from subtle and restrained, frequently getting himself and others around him into a spectacular mess.

But out of all the characters, Deronda, a girl on a constant hunt for someone to pay her bills, was my favourite, for her sass, speaking her mind and her ability to make the best of a bad job. I am looking forward to enjoying more of her expansive personality in the future.

It is a plus that the characters are so well written, because it is nearly a quarter of the way through the book before IQ begins investigating the threat on the rapper’s life, so this is where the story could be said to really take off. But on reading through the early part of the book again I began to realise it was one of those stories where the more you read the more nuances you pick up, and the better it gets with each reading. The plot does jump around a bit while developing IQs’ background, which can be distracting, but there is a sense that now IQs world is bedded down Joe Ide can get down to the serious business of creating a series of books centred around IQ’s unique solving crime capabilities.

IQ was courtesy of Orion via NetGalley.

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