Isaiah Quintabe—an unlicensed detective for all seasons—and his best friend and masterful sidekick, Juanell Dodson, are at a crossroads in this latest installment of the "aggressively entertaining" IQ series (New York Times). This time, their lives may never be the same.
Isaiah Quintabe is no longer IQ, the genius of East Long Beach; instead, he’s a man on the road and on the run, hiding in a small Northern California town when his room is broken into by a desperate young man on the trail of the state’s most prolific serial killer.
His old partner, Juanell Dodson, must go straight or lose his wife and child. His devil’s bargain? An internship at an LA advertising agency, where it turns out the rules of the street have simply been dressed in business casual, but where the aging company’s fortunes may well rest on their ability to attract a younger demographic. Dodson—”the hustler’s hustler”—just may be the right man for the job.
Ide is the crime writer’s crime writer, and he’s filled his best novel yet with desperate souls, courageous outcasts, an ex-stripper who’ll do anything to protect her son, and wild half-brothers who may be the very incarnation of evil.
With deft plotting, lacerating humor, and a keen eye for the ways in which characters rise or fall based on their ties to one another, Smoke is Joe Ide’s crowning achievement.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Sometimes you want your crime fiction hardboiled and country fried. Private investigator Isaiah Quintabe is sick and tired of Long Beach’s trigger-happy gangsters, conniving con men, and pushy pimps, who are all gunning for him, so he decides to escape to rural Northern California to chill. But trouble follows IQ to his small-town rental, in the form of an escaped psychiatric patient who’s obsessed with catching a notorious serial killer. The fifth instalment in Joe Ide’s fun mystery series is packed full of danger and the kind of brilliant high-stakes puzzles that Isaiah’s brain seems designed to solve. Even if you’re a newcomer to IQ’s world, you’ll get a kick out of seeing the street-smart PI operate in the sticks, way outside his comfort zone. And longtime fans will appreciate how this case forces Ide’s hero to grow not just as an investigator but as a person.
Edgar finalist Ide's lackluster fifth novel featuring Isaiah "IQ" Quintabe (after 2020's Hi Five) finds Isaiah driving north from his home in Long Beach, Calif., where he's had enough of dealing with violent crime. He stops in Coronado Springs, a town near Lake Tahoe, where he ends up renting a one-bedroom house. His peaceful existence is interrupted by Billy Sorensen, an escapee from a neuro-psych facility who breaks into his house to steal food. Billy claims that a serial killer, known as AMSAK because his 17 victims were dumped near the Sacramento and American rivers, is headed to Coronado Springs and that he knows AMSAK's identity. Reluctantly, Isaiah investigates. Lengthy unrelated sections involving supporting characters, such as a person whose successful business is threatened by a blackmailer, only further mar the uninspired cat and mouse plot. Isaiah has little opportunity to display his considerable intellectual gifts, and at one point he only avoids serious injury by the tired contrivance of slipping on some dirt. Series fans can only hope for a return to form next time out.
Another great book in the series!