Hi Five

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

I was thrilled with Joe Ide's first Isaiah Quintabe suspense novel, hearing a fresh voice and discovering a streetwise black protagonist. But I was thrown off by this, the latest in the series. The saga of a woman with multiple personalities just doesn't interest me enough, although Ide is a fine writer.
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The daughter of the biggest gun-dealer on the West coast might or might not have killed her father's most important lieutenant. Christina has five alters: she was terribly abused as a child and has subsequently split her personality. Isaiah Quintable, or IQ, is hired to prove Christina did not kill the man she was engaged to, but how does one questions five alternate personalities, none of whom actually witnessed the murder. Meanwhile, IQ is also having to contend with his own girlfriend issues. As always, Ide writes a good book, and I know IQ lives in a very violent world, but the violence was really over the top in this one. I had to stop reading periodically, which is why it took a little longer than usual for me to finish reading it.
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Some scenes may be triggering to those who have experienced child and or domestic abuse. The storyline also dealt with racism, mental illness, family trauma, complex relationships, and much more. 

 The mayhem that was the pages of this novel were on a whole other level than the other books in the IQ series. 

In High Five, the main protagonist Isaiah added more hangers for his skeletons in the closet this time around. 

There was a Bad Boys vibe when it came to the often comical scenes between Isaiah and Dotson, and when it came to the cold character Angus towards the close of the novel, there was a The Picture of Dorian Gray feel to his character though with a twist. One would have to read the book to agree.

The book was an edge-of-the-seat read. Ide paints a vivid picture of the lifestyle and conditions of the story for the reader. The book was exciting to read and makes the reader look forward to his next inclusion in the series.
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I fell in love with Isaiah Quintabe, aka "IQ," in book one of this series. A young, impoverished, but brilliant black man in the 'hood. No ivy league education, but street smarts that Britain's Sherlock might not have imagined. He solves cases that the LAPD wouldn't touch or didn't have time for. His payment might consist of live chickens or a home-cooked dinner. His sidekick isn't a dependable, respectable Watson kind of guy, but a dangerous hot-head who keeps causing trouble for Isaiah. Book One ended with a fantastic finale involving a guard dog and a glimpse of a junk yard, where Isaiah, having solved one case, now leaves the door wide open to Book Two. Tracking down his brother's killer.

This brother never seems dead and gone; his words live on because Isaiah internalized his wisdom. The loss is haunting. And the unresolved, unfillable empty space can cause IQ to act out of emotion rather than reason. 

In this book, "High Five," IQ is tasked with a nasty job: proving that a mobster's daughter didn't kill her dad's partner in crime. It doesn't help that this woman suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder, and IQ has to figure out which of the five (or more) personas is talking to him. 

Two new characters, a pair of women assassins, add color and drama to make up for all the bad^sses who've come and gone in previous books. The way they argue with each other, the way each plots the demise of the other, is comical. Most of the prose, most of the dialogue, is hilarious. It's what keeps me 5-starring Joe Ide's "IQ" series. The Point of View of every minor character is authentic, distinct, and compelling. I find myself sympathizing with low-brow thugs, thieves, and killers, because Ide is just that good at putting us in their heads, making us see the world as they see it.

My Kindle is packed full of highlights. When every page contains quotable quotes, I end up posting none of them. It's too hard to choose just a few.

The ending was not gratifying, this time around. I was so mad, I almost considered rating this book one star for the ending, five for the prose, averaging it to 3 or 4 stars. But this is Joe Ide. I'm still mad at IQ for some of his bonehead moves, but even a genius is bound to make mistakes. It happens. And when the unreliable sidekick is the one saving the day, you just have to hand it to Joe Ide: he never fails to surprise us, entertain us, delight and outrage and torment us.

So, I hate the ending,  hate it - hate it - hate it -, but I love the characters and the prose and the story arc. I'll be following IQ to the end of his days. May he live long and prosper! Or at the least, live long and keep getting into crazy situations for us to read about.

Brilliant, riveting, authentic, and addicting: that's Joe Ide's contemporary Sherlock, "IQ."
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I have read all of the IQ novels. It was nice to connect with the characters once again. I really liked TK's love story. The multiple personality disorder angle of the main suspect was interesting. However this was not my favorite IQ book and I found myself skimming as times. It does look like we will hear more from IQ in the future.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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HI FIVE: An IQ Novel
Joe Ide
Mulholland Books/Little, Brown
ISBN 978-0-316-50953-4

HI FIVE is the fourth --- clever, that --- installment in Joe Ide’s extremely clever and original IQ series. The “IQ” of the piece is Isaiah Quintabe, an unlicensed Long Beach private investigator and wrong-righter who struggles to obtain justice for the downtrodden on the streets of Los Angeles, peacefully if he can and otherwise if he must. HI FIVE premise is superior to that of its predecessors while its execution is something less than that (we’ll discuss that in a bit) but it is still worth reading, due to the quirkiness and originality of Ide’s characters. 

Things get rolling fairly quickly in HI FIVE when the stalwart owner-operator of a neighborhood market is caught in the crossfire of a gang beef. The shooting and its tragic aftermath is a secondary but important story arc across the length of HI FIVE. The primary story, however, involves another murder. Angus Byrne,  an aging thug who is the biggest arms dealer on the West Coast, wants Quintabe to investigate a murder for him. Quintabe wants nothing at all to do with Byrne, but has no choice, given that Byrne, having done his homework on Quintabe, threatens to permanently maim IQ’s girlfriend if he doesn’t go along. The investigation is very personal to Byrne, given that his daughter Christiana has been accused of murdering Tyler Barnes, Bryne’s most valued employee. Christiana, the owner-operator of a fashion boutique, was present when the murder occurred and the sole witness. The problem for Christiana, and for Quintabe by extension, is that Christiana has multiple personalities which include that of a punk band drummer, seductress, and organizer/planner. All of the personalities saw part of what occurred, but none of them saw all of it. They each and all give accounts that appear to contradict each other. Meanwhile, law enforcement builds its case. Christiana’s arrest appears imminent. Byrne grows impatient. He does not want his daughter going to prison. Meanwhile, the real doers --- a nightmarish pair of amoral lovers on the run --- have their sights set on a new target, while Quintabe also attempts to keep an extremely powerful and dangerous illegal firearm from getting into the wrong, or any, hands. Quintabe gets some assistance from a couple of unexpected places, but it may not be enough to keep him and his loved ones out of trouble. 

There are a couple of problems with HI FIVE. One is that Ide arguably juggles a few too many flaming chainsaws in the air as far as plots are concerned. This situation is created in large part by the primary plot device. Christiana’s multiple personalities give the reader and the author quite a bit to deal with. It is an intriguing concept and Ide handles it quite well so far as it goes, but the side plots involving supporting characters tend to slow things down just a bit, and needlessly so. Ide also goes all-in on political and cultural issues repeatedly and excessively, and the pacing of HI FIVE suffers as a result. I found myself on more than one occasion mumbling to myself, “Okay, we got that. I heard you twice the first time” before setting the book aside to take a break. That said, HI FIVE is well worth reading for Ide’s command of language. I underlined or highlighted numerous passages on many pages to memorialize similes, metaphors, and descriptions that I found which each and all of which were quite memorable. Isiah Quintabe also continues to be one of the more distinctive characters in contemporary detective fiction, both because of and in spite of the occasional hiccups in HI FIVE. The ending to HI FIVE may be somewhat open-ended as to the future, but if the conclusion constitutes a new beginning for IQ, I’ll be there for the next round.  You should be as well. 

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
© Copyright 2020, The Book Report, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Another action-packed novel featuring Isaiah Quintabe. This time, IQ is reluctantly brought in to prove the innocence of a ruthless arms dealer.
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IQ – the nickname genius investigator Isaiah Quintabe is known by – is feeling restless. His business as an unlicensed investigator for crimes large and small in his impoverished Los Angeles neighborhood is going well. He has a girlfriend, a talented violinist who was once a client, and he gets along well enough with his former partner, Dodson. But something is missing. He's at loose ends, unsure what he wants to do next.

But not for long. A neighborhood stalwart who runs a corner store is killed in a drive-by shooting, collateral damage in gang warfare. IQ's old flame Grace is back in town, unsettling his feelings. Then things really go sideways. A vicious arms dealer wants him to investigate the murder of his trusted lieutenant.

Since it might be difficult to force the ethical African American investigator to take the case, he makes it impossible for IQ to refuse by kidnapping the violinist. He threatens to break her fingers, putting an end to the music that gives her life meaning, unless IQ finds out who killed his trusted employee in front of his daughter – because right now Christiana, the only person in the world the arms dealer cares about, is the prime suspect.

Reluctantly, IQ goes to work, and soon realizes a difficult case is more complicated than he ever expected. Christiana can't remember a thing about the murder, and none of her four alters are reliable witnesses. It's not easy getting a straight story out of a woman whose multiple personalities keep taking turns doing the talking, contradicting each other.

Joe Ide is a natural storyteller who makes the most of a South Central Los Angeles setting that is rich with potential cases. A drive-by shooting. A missing violin. A lonely man who needs coaching on how to impress a prickly woman at a book club – and a murder that defies logic. Ide populates his landscape with vivid characters, some who will be familiar from the previous three IQ novels and others are newly introduced. As IQ moves down the sidewalk of his neighborhood, new cases and characters seem to bloom around him in a tropical hothouse of stories, so perhaps it's fitting that his witness is five different people, each radically different from the others.

There's plenty of humor in this almost feverishly busy story, and lots of action. There's also a bruised tenderness for an unlovable man who's been deformed by hate and his complicated daughter, whose traumatic childhood broke her into pieces.

Joe Ide gives noir a new palette of vibrant colors, painting the scene with wild invention and respect for those whose stories are often overlooked. By the time IQ solves the case, it's not clear where he will go next, but readers will want to follow.
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I've really loved this series so far -- IQ is one of the most well developed, thoughtful and complex characters I've ever read about. Although this wasn't my favorite in this series, it was the first that accurately described multiple personalities/alters in an interesting and respectful, well researched way.  I look forward to reading what happens next.

Hi Five comes out later this month on January 28, 2020, and you can purchase HERE.  Not my favorite in this series but I still really recommend this series -- totally unique and always fun.

 Dodson remembered one notable encounter. Deronda was at the service window and not in a good mood. A young couple arrived and the woman said, "We don't eat meat, eggs, gluten, or soy. What should we get?" 

 And Deronda said, "The fuck out."
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Similar to the main suspect, I feel like IQ was a bit in pieces during this latest installment. While Isaiah may be intelligent and street smart, his Achilles's Heal is his overblown sense of honor. Normally I love this about him. But this time it might be too much! Instead of doing when he knows needs to be done, he adds extra steps for himself that bring trouble to himself and those around him. Trouble that he really shouldn't be able to survive. Add to this, the suspect he is trying to clear suffers from multiple personalities. I felt this element was a stretch as they all seemed to be functioning people with whom IQ could communicate. If that weren't enough, Grace and Dodson have both returned and he is torn between his "true love" Grace and now a sense of responsibility for Stella's safety. While I like how Mr. Ide includes current issues in his stories, I felt the inclusion of the white supremacist group just added to the confusion of the multiple elements competing for my attention. Maybe a it should have been saved for a separate story line? But I still have faith in IQ and am interested in where he ends up in the next book.
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Hi Five by Joe Ide is an action-packed, multi-layered mystery. This newest release is the fourth installment in the IQ series but can be read as a standalone.

  Unofficial private investigator Isaiah “IQ” Quintabe’s life is already complicated when arms dealer Angus Byrne “invites” him to discuss a case with him. He refuses to take the case  but he has no choice but to change his mind when Byrne threatens IQ’s girlfriend Stella McDaniels. Isaiah is now tasked with ensuring Byrne’s adult daughter Christiana is not arrested for the murder of her boyfriend and her father’s right hand man, Tyler Barnes.  Christiana is the prime suspect in the murder but she insists she is innocent. Isaiah is further frustrated by the case when  Christiana’s mother, Gia, informs him her daughter has five personalities.

  Initially skeptical, IQ is soon interviewing Christiana’s alters. Each have distinct personalities and quirks but he has yet to uncover definitive proof that Christiana nor her alters hired Tyler’s murderers. Reluctantly teaming up again with his friend and former partner, Juanell Dodson, Isaiah is soon balancing quit a few interconnected situations while trying to prevent Christiana’s arrest.

  Isaiah is at a point in his life where he wants to make a difference but he cannot see giving up his investigation business. He definitely does not to become entangled with Angus but with Stella’s career under threat, he knows he has no choice but to do the arms dealer’s bidding. As the investigation makes little progress, Isaiah fears he will never escape Byrne’s threats so he devises a plan to get his revenge. But will his plan work as intended?

  Isaiah notices immediately that Dodson is acting out of character. Dodson has struggled since ending his partnership in Deronda’s food truck business. He is also deeply affected by the life-threatening injuries that local grocery owner Beaumont received in a drive by shooting. Dodson is also under pressure from his wife Cherise to find a job and take care of her and their infant son. With many regrets about his past haunting him, will Dodson make positive steps to find solutions for his problems?

  Hi Five is a clever mystery with a topical storyline. IQ is a highly intelligent man but his choices sometimes culminate with unintended consequences.  He is tenacious and continues fighting for the truth about Christiana and her possible involvement in Tyler’s murder. With shocking twists and stunning turns, Joe Ide brings this perplexing mystery to a very unanticipated conclusion. Old and new fans will be eagerly awaiting the next installment in the fantastic IQ series.
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Ah, Joe, I'm sorry to say I'm disappointed. You know I love I.Q., but Hi Five left me high and dry, lower than Dodson's moral threshold. Not sure it was any one thing: a series of unlikeable characters; no compelling motives or missions; and a narrative that felt jury-rigged out of spare parts. The multi[ple  identities thing just left me dazed and confused and turned the whole book into a schizoid revenge fantasy. Maybe IQ needs a change of scenery, or a different way to stretch his mental muscles. He seems wasted on this venture. I'm still going to give you three stars, Joe, just because. Happy new year!
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Isaiah is pulled into another deadly mess, this time against his will. He will compromise everything as he tries to help a woman with multiple personality disorder and juggles his own complicated love life.

That’s right – Isaiah still has a love life!

I didn’t love book four as wholeheartedly as I did Wrecked, which was my favorite of the series so far. There are a lot of elements that reflect the current cultural moment (neo-Nazis included, ugh), leavened by moments of joy at glimpses of my old neighborhood favorites, Dodson and Deronda.

This is a series I’ll stick to for a good long while yet – though I have no clue where it’s going based on that ending.

P.S. - does anyone else think that Joe Ide is trolling us all by calling the fourth book “Hi Five”?
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IQ is back! So is Grace, the girl of his dreams. Problem is, he met someone while she was gone, the concert violist Stella McDaniels. Angus Byrne, a black market arms dealer, has threatened to break Stella’s hands if IQ doesn’t find the evidence to exonerate his daughter, Christiana, from murder charges before she is arrested. Christiana is no help mounting a defense even though she witnessed the murder. Suffering from multiple personality disorder, each of her alternative identities saw bits of what happened and for unfathomable reasons, some of them don’t want to cooperate. So IQ has to solve the riddle on his own before it is too late. The story is a well-paced page turner with an ending that harkens new beginnings.
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What more can be said: IQ is back! Joe Ide continues the adventures of IQ with each novel being better than the last!
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I adored the first book in this series featuring Isaiah Quintabe (IQ) by Joe Ide, named after its lead character.  I was a little disappointed by the second, Righteous but enjoyed the third, Wrecked, Which brings us to Ide's latest release and the fourth instalment, Hi Five.

Interestingly I think what I struggled with in the second novel was the increased involvement of IQ’s childhood friend (and kinda loveable rogue) Juanell Dodson. Dodson plays a larger role in this book again but I’m finding myself becoming accustomed to the fact he jousts well with IQ, even if it means the latter no longer seems to be quite the scary-smart and savvy character I initially fell in love with.

I often struggle with the multiple storylines in this series but here the plots are pretty much linked from the beginning so my focus was less scattered. 

The case of the one person / many personalities as witnesses was actually quite different to anything I'd read before. Christiana is an obvious suspect but it's likely it might have been one of her personalities and she doesn't know.

Of course her father's reputation and the victim's role in his organisation means there are a myriad of other possible killers however and the mystery itself is actually quite complex.

I like some complexity but, although we aren't offered disparate cases, Ide has - in some ways - convoluted things more than needed. An early gang-related killing is lost a little in the investigation of the main case and the introduction of dysfunctional hired killers was interesting, but again diluted a little by other events. 

I should mention that IQ is still smart and very intuitive. He notices stuff others might not. Like Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock. And of course we have Dodson who keeps IQ pointed in the right direction. 

I recall IQ's love interest appearing in the last book of the series but there's a bit of an about turn here which confused me a little. 

I really like IQ and think the series and his character have a lot of potential but have the feeling Ide isn't sure where he's taking them. There's sometimes a lack of consistency in IQ's actions and those around him; and the plot tends to take some sharp turns - less like twists and more like changes of direction. 

3.5 stars
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