“Hi Five” is book four in Joe Ide’s “IQ” series. Familiar characters run throughout the narrative, but new readers can easily follow along as Isaiah Quintabe, “IQ” struggles with gangs, guns, and pandemonium in Long Beach, CA. A glimpse at the cover lets readers know that this time, the women in IQ’s life will be prominent.
Ide creates complex and diverse characters, and although there is plenty of action, this book is really about those characters. The self-confident, energetic, savior of the disenfranchised is gone, and instead IQ finds himself struggling with both professional direction and personal relationships. He is still haunted by the murder of his beloved brother, Marcus, but he is also conflicted and hesitant about the present, and very unsure about the future. He agonizes over his connections with people, especially his growing attachment to both Grace and Stella. His relationship with long-time friend Juanell Dodson is also stalled, in limbo even, as Dodson struggles as well with his new role as a father but still longs for his old carefree life as IQ’s detective sidekick and partner.
The action side of the book is intense, reckless, and violent. Of course, there is also “the case” that IQ must solve. This time IQ is not seeking justice for the excluded underdog, but the exoneration of a kingpin’s daughter who is accused of murder. Along the way, there are blackmail threats against innocent bystanders, ethnic gang conflicts, weapons sales, and just “regular” gang warfare on all sides.
In the end, after the dust settles, and the ruminants of violence are behind him, IQ travels down the path that is his life and must make decisions. He reflects on what has been and what might be to come. He must choose a direction for his life, but which. Joe Ide keeps readers waiting for the next book.