Despite being East Long Beach's most famous private investigator, Isaiah Quintabe (IQ for short) is still solving low-level crimes and getting paid in "casseroles, cookies, needlepoint homilies, leftover Christmas presents, home repairs, and knitted woolen scarves so perfect for the California weather." His buddy Juanell Dodson, a former hustler and occasional partner in solving crimes, has gone legit with a food truck business. But Dodson is being blackmailed and needs to make some real money. He convinces a reluctant IQ officially to join forces as investigators, but will they survive their first case?

Their client is Grace, an artist looking for Sarah, her mother who disappeared 10 years earlier. Despite Dodson's objections to the case, the investigators begin their pursuit. It's not long before the trio discover they're up against members of a Blackwater-type paramilitary force who engaged in unspeakable atrocities at Abu Ghraib, led by the merciless Stan Walczak. Sarah has damning photos of Walczak and his crew torturing Iraqis, and the villainous mercenaries will kill anyone who threatens to publish them--or even knows they exist.

Joe Ide has given mystery readers a truly distinctive protagonist in his 26-year-old, socially challenged African American sleuth. With Wrecked, the third installment in the series (IQ, Righteous), Ide adds new dimensions to IQ, with Grace as a love interest and his awkwardness around her in stark contrast to his proficiency as an investigator. Ide's commitment to character and ear for dialogue are a treat; even supporting characters like Dodson's girlfriend, Cherise, and business partner Deronda are well-rounded. Ide's ability to find comedy and vulnerability amid the violence make the IQ series a refreshing addition to the genre. --Frank Brasile, librarian

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