Hi Five by Joe Ide [9/10]

Who can resist a geeky private detective, a la Sherlock, especially one in gangland L.A.? Isaiah Quintabe caromed onto the scene with Joe Ide’s first mystery “IQ” in 2016. I fell in love. Isaiah is nerdy as all heck, but dead smart and principled, and it turned out in books 2 and 3 that he could also wield arms. Joe Ide is a ferocious, lucid, gorgeous writer and the gangland setting, contrasting as it does with the cerebral crime solving, is evoked wondrously. I felt that 2018’s “Wrecked” squandered some of the series’ steam, but I’m happy to announce that “Hi Five” is not only a return to full form but a maturation both of character and themes. The plot scenario in “Hi Five” is audacious – an arms dealer’s daughter witnessed a murder but has five warring personalities inside her – but Joe Ide carries it off with outrageous aplomb. More importantly, Isaiah is changing. Having sloughed off childhood tragedies and his first true love, now he is searching for a fuller life. And underneath this tale is a rising sense of what modern justice might look like. The plot is a frenetic, pulsing wonder that impels one-night binging, but there is so much more to “Hi Five.” Grab it, please.

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