Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781474612043

Price: £9.99

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‘The best new discovery I’ve come across in a long time’ Michael Connelly
‘Writing so sharp you may cut your fingers on the pages’ Attica Locke
‘The best thing to happen to mystery writing in a very long time’ New York Times
‘The Holmes of the 21st century’ Daily Mail
‘Conan Doyle’s characterisation and Raymond Chandler’s phrase-making’ Guardian
‘An electrifying combination of Holmesian mystery and SoCal grit’ Time
‘Truly feels like an heir to Elmore Leonard’ Daily Telegraph
‘An author with wizard-like gifts’ Wall Street Journal
‘Ide is an original as a suspense writer: every novel he writes feels like a new invention’ Washington Post

Isaiah is no longer IQ, the genius of East Long Beach. A man on the road and on the run, he is hiding in a small Northern California town when his room is broken into by a desperate young man on the trail of the state’s most prolific serial killer.

Isaiah’s former sidekick Dodson has also had to change life, in an attempt to keep his wife and child. His devil’s bargain is an internship at an LA advertising agency, where it turns out the rules of the street have simply been dressed in business casual. The ageing company’s fortunes may well rest on their ability to attract a younger demographic and Dodson – ‘the hustler’s hustler’ – just may be the right man for the job.

Both Isaiah and Dodson are at a crossroads, but can they leave their former lives behind for good?

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Throughout the previous four novels in his Isaiah "IQ" Quintabe series, Ide has displayed a rare ability to mix dark comedy and gut-churning drama (think Thomas Perry), sometimes leaning toward the former (IQ, 2016), other times the latter (Hi Five, 2020). Here he strikes the balance straight down the middle, juggling between Isaiah's fraught attempt to break away from his perilplagued career as a quixotic investigator and his best friend Dodson's parallel effort to save his marriage by transforming himself from a hustler on the streets of East Long Beach to, of all things, a marketing trainee in the straight world. Ide sets us up to expect Dodson's foray into button-down business culture to deliver the comedy, leaving all the gut-churning for Isaiah's journey, which takes him to a small town in the woods near Lake Tahoe, where he finds not peace but more hapless souls in need of help (serial killers lurk). On the surface, our expectations are met in both cases, but mixmaster Ide's compulsion to blend light and dark (Isaiah's confrontation with the serial killers, while gruesome, takes the form of "a slapstick movie shot in a burning insane asylum") affects the two plots in surprising ways, again producing an emotion-rich form of character-driven tragicomedy, but one in which peril forever loiters in the shallows.