Thanks to NetGalley and Mullholland Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood’s high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can’t or won’t touch. They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he’s forced to take on clients that can pay.
This time, it’s a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monster attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes.
IQ is one of the most diverse interpretations of Sherlock Holmes I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Isaiah Quintabe (Sherlock), has all the knowledge and deductive kills of his fictional predecessor, but he’s much more affable. Writing him as a young black man who dropped out of high school, was an inspired decision on the part of the author in my view. I mean let’s face it. Even modern day retellings of Sherlock aren’t exactly overflowing with diversity, although there have been some female versions which I’ve greatly appreciated. Isaiah is complicated and comes with a tragic past, which makes him someone readers will become emotionally invested in. Juandell Dodson (Watson), who starts out as Isaiah’s roommate and becomes his partner is equally complex. He’s a smooth talking drug dealer which should have been a complete turnoff for me, but much to my surprise I actually wound up liking him. The mystery itself is tightly written and even at times, humorous. It also kept me guessing right up until the last couple of chapters, which is always a plus. But what really kept me reading were the detailed descriptions of East Long Beach, the characters, and the dialogue. The book is actually divided into two stories set in 2005 and 2015. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I felt a bit of a disconnect each time the time period would switch, even though they both involved Isaiah. I think it might be because I’d just be settling into one story, when on the next page it would switch to the other. Overall, I think IQ is a fantastic start to a new mystery series, and I highly recommend it to fans of this genre, especially if you’re looking for a neat twist on Sherlock.