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Smoke: An IQ Novel


Smoke: An IQ Novel

Isaiah Quintabe no longer wants the role of IQ, a man who fights the good fight in a world of bad deeds. He wants to escape the people chasing him, surrender his heart to Grace, whom he has discovered he loves with a passion, and let the world take care of itself for a while. But none of it will be easy, and it may actually be impossible.

For too long, Isaiah has functioned as an Equalizer of sorts, using his innate skills as a detective and his brilliance as a problem solver to help desperate people in need. But now IQ is done. He has fled his East Long Beach home and is hiding out in a small town up north. It seems, though, that there is no escape for IQ. He returns to his rented cottage one day to find an intruder in his kitchen. Instead of calling the cops, and against his better judgment, he listens to the story this guy has to tell. The kid, Billy, claims he is chasing two serial killers who are heading here to this town.

"Joe Ide writes with authenticity, humor and grit. He doesn’t mince words, and it pays off. Big time."

Great. Just great. Isaiah had to choose this town to hide out. And this kid had to choose Isaiah’s house to break into. And the kid thinks a couple of serial killers are on their way. Being the man he is, though, Isaiah can’t turn his back on Billy. Soon he’s embroiled in more danger than he left behind.

Meanwhile, back in East Long Beach, his old partner, Juanell Dodson, has problems of his own. Cherise, Juanell’s wife, is tired of being the family breadwinner. She thinks her husband needs to get off his butt and do something worthwhile. A friend has arranged an internship for him at an advertising agency. Well, ain’t that fine, he thinks. But he loves Cherise, so he drags himself down to the firm the day he’s supposed to report. It turns out his “mentor” is about to be fired, and there’s a supervisor who is pushing hard to make that happen. It looks like Dodson’s new, non-paying job may be over before it begins. But then an opportunity presents itself, and he discovers a talent he didn’t know he had.

These aren’t the only street characters whose stories weave in and out through the novel, simply the main ones. There’s also hardworking Deronda, who is besieged by a man claiming to be her child’s father. Not that he cares about the kid, but Deronda has a successful food truck business and, well, maybe she could share some of that good fortune. Luckily, IQ’s lady love, Grace, has some ideas about how to thwart his plans. All of these people miss Isaiah. And truth be told, they need him.

Back up north, Isaiah is contending with Billy and a young woman who has joined him on the trail of the serial killers, despite all of his efforts to try distancing himself from them. Plus, he’s now dodging the local sheriff, who has become obsessed with arresting all three of them. How many forces are going to be against him? All he was trying to do was find a peaceful slice of country to hide out in and chill.

SMOKE is the first IQ novel I’ve read, and it definitely won’t be the last. Now I have the other four to look forward to. Isaiah Quintabe springs onto the detective scene as a fresh, highly intelligent and extremely clever --- not to mention wholly human --- player here. He is real, has seen what life throws at people, and has the compassion necessary to make a difference. Joe Ide writes with authenticity, humor and grit. He doesn’t mince words, and it pays off. Big time.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on March 12, 2021

Smoke: An IQ Novel
by Joe Ide

  • Publication Date: January 11, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316531073
  • ISBN-13: 9780316531078