Thursday, July 28, 2016

IQ by Joe Ide


Rating: WARTY!

This was an advance review copy from Net Galley. I thank the publisher for a chance at an early read of this novel.

This is a long book and was a bit of a roller-caster ride for me, but unfortunately, not in a good way. I started out disliking it, yet pressed on and found it more to my liking, but in the end I made it only fifty percent of the way through it, and the reason for that was the endless flashbacks containing info-dumps about the history of one character or another. It felt like padding which, given that this novel is over three hundred pages long, was entirely unnecessary. Not that padding is ever a good idea. I get that authors like to do mini-bios on their characters, to flesh them out and make them 3D, but to incorporate all of this into the story, Stephen King style is definitely not to my taste, and is a major reason why I quit reading Stephen King novels for that matter.

When I read a detective story, which is what this is, I want to be on the job pursuing clues. I don't want to take regimented breaks to catch-up on character history. By all means weave it into the story if you think it's really necessary, but don't bring your story to a screeching halt every other chapter with an episode of This is Your Life. The feeling I got by the time I quit - in the middle of yet another character history - was that the plot was thin and this padding was felt necessary to plump it up and make a real novel out of it, but it didn't, because it simply wasn't appealing.

The other major problem was with the main character. He's presented as some kind of prodigy or genius, or Sherlock Holmesian detective, but I saw nothing in the first fifty percent of this book to indicate he was anything out of the ordinary. He wasn't very interesting to me except when he was working he case, and it seemed like this activity was low on the author's list of priorities. He also took so much crap the first day on the job, from the entourage of the guy he was trying to help (yet another rapper) that it made no sense to me that he'd suck-up gratuitous insult after abusive insult without turning around and walking out on their mouthy asses. It made him look weak and beggarly.

Worse than this, at one point, Isaiah (the IQ of the title) has identified the perp, yet rather than draw the attention of the police to him, he simply drives away. This was criminally negligent given that this guy is in active pursuit of an assassination. I get that maybe the police don't have enough to arrest him right there and then, but I sure wouldn't want it on my conscience if I didn't say anything, and this assassin ends up succeeding in his plan. It was irresponsible and finished the job of turning me off the guy, which is a sorry thing to do when it comes to your main character!

As always, I wish the author all the best in his endeavors, but this book was not for me and I can't in good faith recommend it.


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