It’s always a joy to be introduced to a new character by a writer one’s never read before. Even, with that in mind, Joe Ide’s LA-based private eye Isaiah Quintabe, also known as IQ, is a revelation, a brilliant, twenty-first century African American Sherlock Holmes. In Smoke, published this month by W&N, he makes his fifth outing and yet this book can be read as a standalone.

The Isaiah we meet has left everything he loves behind, including girlfriend Grace, moving from East Long Beach to hide out in Coronado Springs, near Lake Tahoe, where he’s reassessing his life and the decisions that have put himself and his loved ones at risk. His best friend, hustler Juanell Dodson, is caught up in his own new world, working for an ad agency in a bid to keep his family. However, Isaiah’s life is not destined to be quiet. There’s apparently a serial killer operating in the area and of course he just has to get involved.

Tightly written and plotted, with a cast of well-conceived characters, Smoke is a good read, good enough that we’ll be back to investigate the earlier books.

IQ is a great protagonist, sharp, attractive, clever and cool – cool enough to capture Snoop Dogg’s interest. He’s producing a TV series based on the series.

We can’t wait.


Smoke | Joe Ide | W&N | hardback | £16.99 | 23 February 2021

ebook also available

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to Alex Layt, as always, and to the publisher for sending us a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other wonderful reviewers on this tour and please share them.


Also of interest:Smoke screen, Blix and Ramm #2’; ‘Alice Walker and the power of poetry‘; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Sylvia Plath on poetry‘; ‘WB Yeats, “The Journey of the Magi“‘; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is copyright © 2021 by The Literary Shed. All rights are reserved. All opinions expressed are our own. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please contact us for permission and provide the necessary credit. Thank you so much. We welcome your feedback.





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