Somewhere, either on the dust jacket or within on the literary reviews page, Florida-based writer Carl Hiaasen offered an outstanding critique of praise stating, essentially, no matter how fast Joe Ide writes, it’s clearly not fast enough. Couldn’t agree more. After reading Righteous, I need IQ #3 to drop on the market right now.
For the time being, we have Righteous, which as a follow-up is right in line with IQ. Here, the defining factor is this book’s narrative, which is separated into a dual timeline. One, in which IQ and Dodson deal with each other while rescuing a deep in-debt couple from the Triads in Vegas, while elsewhere IQ attempts to solve his brother’s murder back in Long Beach, possibly involving the Los Locos gang. And oh yes, both stories slam together spectacularly. Ide keeps the action fresh and the dialogue quick, but man, it’s the relationships between specific pairs Ide builds upon that truly make this story excel.
Naturally there is Isaiah and Dodson, the chronicled stars. Friends, perhaps partners, but not quite bosom buddies as the two verbally spar. Constantly. Their patter and witty repartee is amusing, endearing, and I did not want it to end. Ide has perfectly captured the true essence of these two characters, making them unique and refreshingly real.
Ide goes deeper, especially with the villains, and even those morally gray, such as DJ Janine and motorcyclist Benny – star-crossed lovers whose love of gambling outweighs everything else. Then there is Janine’s father, Ken, a particular type of scum working for Tommy, who leads the Triads and places Ken in a similar position of servitude like those that Ken enslaves. There are Rwandan refugees Gahigi and Seb, the latter of which might, huge emphasis on that might, but still, rise to the level of Isaiah’s Moriarty. Los Locos gang leaders, the washed up Frankie, seeking one last street-wide brawl to cement his name with the barrio elite, and Manzo, his replacement who desires to corporatize the gang-banging lifestyle. And finally, the lovable loan shark Leo the Lion-Hearted and his Canadian giant heavy, Zar. Each of them exceptional with their layers of excess as Ide allows them time to grow and breathe and conclude their arcs.
Ide presents more than the usual genre offerings. His neo-noir style is combined with a hint of the best of the tried-and-true buddy cop pairings. The end result is… righteous. Or is that too easy? How about addictive… because if the next IQ runs late, I’m heading into massive withdrawal.