Series: IQ #2.
Writer(s): Joe Ide.
Publisher: Mulholland Books.
Release Date: September 11th 2018 (first published October 17th 2017).
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Previously on IQ:
IQ by Joe Ide.
Nominee for several awards, IQ has seduced its readers in wonderful ways and shown how an author who has a profound love for Sherlock Holmes is able to create an original take on the iconic duo by bringing his readers a young Afro-American local private detective who goes by the name of Isaiah “IQ” Quintabe, and a lowly criminal partner known only as Dodson—which funnily and probably intentionally rhymes with Watson. With Righteous, a sequel that inevitably garnered a lot of expectations from fans, the questions arise as to whether the author can once again deliver an exciting, action-packed and fun story, without being trapped in a cycle of repetition or giving us a lackluster retelling of a classic mystery story starring Sherlock Holmes. Luckily for us, Joe Ide tries a new formula and offers fans a different meal to savour before the finale to this trilogy.
In Righteous, Isaiah Quintabe faces what is his most personal mystery, and it concerns none other than his brother Marcus and the unsolved mystery that shrouds his life. As an exemplary role model, his brother has always wanted the best for Isaiah, even if his last memory of Marcus has driven Isaiah in a dark corner before reemerging from it to become the man he is today. After many years, he finally crosses paths with one of the most important piece of the puzzle and now has a clue that will help him ultimately shed light on what is his more important memory of his brother. His mission is however hindered with a sudden phone call from the love of his life who wishes to find help through Isaiah’s aid. Accepting to lend a hand, he finds himself having to not only save a couple stuck in the wild life of gambling and DJ’ing, but also to deal Chinese gangsters and their murderous shenanigans.
What could have been a story filled with revelations that would have dumbfounded the protagonist and made him go through some of his most vulnerable and emotional moments of his life was lost within the myriad of point of views and diluted by the parallel storylines that came in Righteous. Oddly enough, Isiah Quintabe didn’t feel like his former self in this sequel to IQ as his demeanor and witty banter barely got through the narrative. The main causes for this performance issue are in the dual narratives and the multiple point of views. Everyone and their mother had a point of view explored, even if it was short, and with the dual narrative, the story never took any moment to smoothly peel the orange, but instead raged its way to the juicy stuff. This in fact never helped me a reader to invest in all the characters, even if the multiple point of views does allow the reader to further understand everyone’s beliefs and motives.
The introduction of a long-lost love interest for Isaiah Quintabe also brought out a side in the protagonist that was never seen before and that immediately felt out of character. While he was initially sold as a self-learned, multidisciplinary investigator with insane deductive skills, he now found himself more often than not drooling over a potential love life and enraging himself over the development of the mystery around his brother. The story still however retains its identity through its humour. Similar to its predecessor, it continues to be heavily reliant on subtle—all right, maybe not so subtle—American references, whether it’s music, sports or pop culture. I personally enjoy this a lot in this series since I knew exactly what every reference was about, almost like I was talking between friends.
Righteous remains an entertaining sequel to IQ although it is flimsy all over the edges and struggles in delivering the emotional punch that its premise potentially promises.
Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for sending me a copy for review!