Saturday, December 3, 2016

Straight Outta Baker Street

Joe Ide “IQ” (Mulholland Books, 2016)

The quick synopsis of this one is “Sherlock in the hood”.  And while that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, it’s accurate enough for what it actually is. 

Isaiah Quintabe is the titular detective.  He’s a young kid who helps out people in the neighborhood. They pay him the best he can.  He needs some big money (for reasons), so he takes a gig brought to him by a guy named Dodson (not exactly a friend).  IQ is Sherlock here, & Dodson is Watson.  It turns out that someone wants to kill rapper Black the Knife (love that name), & IQ is supposed to unravel the mess.

Fun premise, but does first time author Joe Ide pull it off?

Yeah, I think he does a good job.  IQ himself is a compelling character who is actually more sympathetic than Sherlock. We are given a compelling origin story, one that explains IQ’s motivations & his relationships to several other characters.  Tonally, Ide knocks it out of the park.  This is a funny, funky, irreverent take on Long Beach that owes as much to Carl Hiaasen as it does to Walter Mosley.

All that being said, this is still a first novel, & Ide’s style could use a bit of polish.  But he’s one to watch & I think that he’s destined for bigger things.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

More Like a Day without Hope

Peter F Hamilton “A Night without Stars” (Del Rey, 2016)

I have to say that I would have read this differently 6 months ago.  

The world of Bienvenido is governed by an authoritarian government.  They are fundamentally conservative with a small “c”.  They actively restrict change.  Hamilton focuses on technology, but there would obviously be social indicators as well.

There’s a persecuted minority group, “Eliters”, who of course we as readers know would do a much better job of solving the very real problems confronting them.

Hamilton puts a layer of communist semiotics on top of his authoritarian, just in case anyone doubted his free market credentials.

So here we are in a time of rising fascism, and I’m trying to read this book where one of the major characters is in fact a member of the authoritarian police force.  We are shown torture and disregard even for the people who cooperate with the police.

So, yeah, it wasn’t a fun read for me.

It should have been a big fun time reading space opera with aliens and clones and androids.  With crazy advanced technologies.

Instead it was too much a vision of the repression of today and tomorrow.