So, here’s IQ again, in Wrecked, the third entry in Joe Ide’s terrific new series of detective novels. It’s an adventure that’s even more outrageous than the first two. Oh, you haven’t met? IQ is Isaiah Quintabe of Long Beach, California. The private investigator. You might just want to call him Sherlock from the Hood. He’s some kind of genius.
Wrecked (IQ #3) by Joe Ide (2018) 352 pages
@@@@@ (5 out of 5)
Ten years after Abu Ghraib
Here’s the deal. These four guys were all in Iraq, at Abu Ghraib. And, yes, they all took part in the really awful stuff that happened there. Torture, of course, including waterboarding. Rape, too. And only one of them seems to have had the slightest misgivings about it. Now, it’s more than ten years later, and one of those guys—the CIA officer who gave the orders—has built a “security” company like Blackwater and become a billionaire in the process. (“He was even richer than his hero, Donald Trump.”) So, he’s got even more to lose than the others if the truth about what they did at Abu Ghraib comes out.
There were more photos, it turns out
That’s why all four are back together. Because Walczak, the billionaire, has just gotten a blackmail demand from a woman named Sarah that he used to know. It turns out that Sarah’s husband, who’d been at Abu Ghraib too, had taken lots of pictures of all the really, really bad stuff they did. The woman wants a million dollars or she’ll release the photos online. And Walczak is convinced she’ll do that even if he does pay the money. So, naturally, they’ve got to kill her, right?
Sherlock from the Hood takes on another outrageous case
The problem is, they don’t have a clue where she is. Sarah disappeared ten years ago. Not even her daughter, Grace, knows where she’s hiding out. Which is a problem for her, because she really wants to get back in touch with her mother. And that leads Grace to contact Isaiah. She’s heard IQ is really good at finding missing people. And he’s willing to do just about anything for Grace, because, well, he’s seen her around the hood and he’s got a crush on her.
All of which explains, more or less, how Isaiah and Grace end up on a collision course with Walczak and the other bad guys. And, this being the kind of book it is, we know there will be fireworks along the way. Yes, sorry to say, violence. Really ugly violence. It’s even there in the Prologue. But don’t let that turn you off this book. It’s lots of fun, too.
Again, outrageous characters
The IQ novels are full of outrageous characters, and Joe Ide outdoes himself in Wrecked. Here, for example, is Junior, a drug dealer with a peculiar attachment to the English language. Listen:
“Are you and I correlated or do we coexist in separate realities?” (Translation: Junior hasn’t figured out that the attractive woman who’s taken a seat next to him is hitting on him.)
“You thought you could recapitulate my premises and not forfeit the residue?” (Translation: somebody stole a bag of money from Junior’s apartment and he wants it back.)
Then there are the two thirteen-year-olds from the Carver Middle School Science Club, Phaedra Harris and Gilberto Cervantes. These two kids talk like Oxford dons (but without the accent). As Isaiah observes, “Phaedra was obviously smart but not like the smart kids on TV. She wasn’t acting like an adult. It was as if she was an adult . . . If it wasn’t for her age, she could have hosted Good Morning America.”
Then there’s Chester C. Babbitt, the bow-tie-wearing psychopath who manufactures knives.
Well, you get the point. I won’t go on. And to explain how all these characters (and more) fit together in this story would spoil the fun. Read the book. If you like detective fiction, you’ll be glad you did. There’s no Dr. Watson for this Sherlock from the Hood, and no deerstalker cap, but you’ll love the guy’s mind.