Righteous by Joe Ide

Title: Righteous.
Series: IQ #2.
Writer(s): Joe Ide.
Publisher: Mulholland Books.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: September 11th 2018 (first published October 17th 2017).
Pages: 352.
Genre(s): Mystery.
ISBN13: 9780316267748.
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!



28 thoughts on “Righteous by Joe Ide

  1. It’s always a bit disappointing when a sequel doesn’t quite deliver. Sometimes our expectations for it might be too high, which has happened to me once or twice. But more often than not it usually is because the original is so very good it’s hard to come up with something that is just as good. Still this one sounds like it had all the ingredients but just fell short. I won’t be reading this one as I’m not really big on detective type stories in the first place. Nonetheless your review was great as always😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. I wouldn’t even call it expectations really. It just seemed like it could’ve been tightened up better so that some of the more important things to character development had more… well… importance. I actually think I saw this book on your TBR on Goodreads hahaha If you do ever try this trilogy out, I hope you’ll have a good time, sir. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, i loved this review! This series has been on my wishlist forever. Never really seen it mentioned before. So yay 🙂
    I’m curious about all those references… i would imagine most of it will fly right over my head. Haha 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like the author took a chance on the multiple POV and it just didn’t work that well. Hopefully things get better in the next book😊 Thanks for a thorough review, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am really feeling like a thriller at the moment, but the multiple POV comments you made put me off this one a bit – as much as I love anything Sherlock Holmes related. I don’t like when the story jumps around too much – like you said, it leaves it all feeling a bit underdeveloped. Second books are so hard to get right!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the exact feeling I had with this one, and with it having two timelines (past and present), it can get quite confusing too. I can tolerate multiple POV… normally.. but this is one of those rare times where it just didn’t click. Hope you do find a thriller worth checking out though. The first book, IQ, could be something worth trying though. I had a fun time with that one. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, it was an unexpected story arc for the protagonist, although it held so much promise. Blurb even mentions that Isaiah might face someone à la Moriarty… That is bound to raise my expectations by 2000%! 😀 Thank you!


  5. Uh, I think the banter being buried among all the other stuff would be my main disappointment, plus the multiple POVs- they can sometimes mess things up. Especially when you are taken to a character so much, all you really want it more of them!
    Interesting review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, there’s just too much going on in this one. It should have focused a bit more on IQ and his brother’s story. The love story wasn’t too much to my taste either. I still look forward to the third and final book. So far it’s pretty good! 😀 Thanks for reading, Liz!


  6. Sounds like the series is off to a shaky start. The sequel is like the second season of a TV series; a possibility of not being continued, i.e., cancelled. However, it is cheaper to write a lukewarm book series than to continue production of a mediocre TV series.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s