Isaiah Quintabe returns, investigating the death of his brother and getting mixed up in Las Vegas organized crime
For ten years, something has gnawed at Isaiah Quintabe’s gut and kept him up nights, boiling with anger and thoughts of revenge. Ten years ago, when Isaiah was just a boy, his brother was killed by an unknown assailant. The search for the killer sent Isaiah plunging into despair and nearly destroyed his life. Even with a flourishing career, a new dog, and near-iconic status as a PI in his hometown, East Long Beach, he has to begin the hunt again-or lose his mind.
A case takes him and his volatile, dubious sidekick, Dodson, to Vegas, where Chinese gangsters and a terrifying seven-foot loan shark are stalking a DJ and her screwball boyfriend. If Isaiah doesn’t find the two first, they’ll be murdered. Awaiting the outcome is the love of IQ’s life: fail, and he’ll lose her. Isaiah’s quest is fraught with treachery, menace, and startling twists, and it will lead him to the mastermind behind his brother’s death, Isaiah’s own sinister Moriarty.
I very much enjoyed Joe Ide’s debut, IQ, and decided that it was high time that I got caught up on the series. So, in a moment of choice paralysis, I just picked up Righteous and dove right in. I’m glad I did — as with the first novel, this is a fast-paced, entertaining mystery/crime novel. I enjoyed this.
In some ways, Righteous didn’t have the same kind of feel as IQ. Isaiah, for example, didn’t seem to be as much of a focal presence in the story. Ide spends plenty of time with other characters (not all of whom survive), telling the story from their perspectives. As one could expect, after reading IQ, each of the new characters is well-drawn, fascinating and engaging guides to Isaiah’s world and community.
The multiple perspectives do make for a more varied story, but I did miss spending more time with Isaiah’s unique perspective on life, crime, and more. Isaiah is a great character, someone living on the edge of his Long Beach community and society, but nevertheless inextricably linked with his neighbours and city. Incredibly intelligent, with prodigious deductive capabilities, he’s a mini-celebrity, someone known for fixing problems and solving mysteries that no-one else will help with.
In Righteous, Isaiah is distracted by revelations he uncovers related to the hit-and-run death of his beloved brother (revelations that were seeded at the end of IQ). Further complicating matters, Marcus’s girlfriend (who he has a crush on) approaches Isaiah about helping her half-sister who has got herself deep in trouble with the Chinese triad in Vegas. Together, these two cases end up putting Isaiah on the bad side of a number of different factions with poor impulse control. Isaiah’s quietly tricksy, however, and he manages to manipulate the situation and players into serving his ends. It’s quite satisfying.
Righteous is more fast-paced than the first novel in the series. It feels a little frantic, at times. Not necessarily a bad thing, and it evokes the way the characters are scrambling to make sense of what’s going on, not to mention get out alive. It also establishes a larger story arc that will take another book or two to resolve. Another enjoyable novel, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next one, Wrecked (out now).
If you’re a fan of quirky crime/mystery fiction, then I’d certainly recommend you check out Joe Ide’s series.