I have not read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes work so I’m only half familiar with the many references here and in other knockoffs. I get “Dodson” as “Watson” and this being a take on The Hound of the Baskervilles but beyond that, anything else was beyond me. So I went into this more interested in the story itself as opposed to how it matches up with its inspirational texts.
And it’s mostly a good story. Joe Ide is a quality writer and this is a decent first effort. The crime story was interesting and unfolded well. Though I didn’t care much who was behind the dirty deeds, I liked how the ending broke for the parties involved. It wasn’t expected and I appreciated that.
But the heart of this book is the main character, the Sherlock-type Isaiah Quintabe. I really enjoyed his demeanor, deductive skills and overall personality. Withdrawn and observant, Isaiah makes for a compelling lead, easily bouncing off the chaos of the world to see the big picture, sometimes literally. He’s what I enjoyed more than anything and he’s why I will be returning to the series. I don’t know how he compares to Holmes and I don’t care. The book suffers when perspective hops from him to someone else.
A few quibbles…
-Because anti-black racism is prevalent, I’m never going to be fully comfortable with non-black people writing books set mostly from the perspective of black people. I’m not saying folks shouldn’t do it, that’d be silly. I’m just not sure how you do it without advancing anti-black stereotypes. Ide seems to do an acceptable job with it for the men. But that leads to…
-Two black female characters are described at length and Ide riffs more on body parts and beauty as opposed to giving them agency. Both are portrayed as gold digging Jezebels. Not a good look.
-The background stories for Isaiah and Dodson could have been smoothed out and better integrated into the story.
I got book two for free the other day so I’ll check it out. I’m not as high on this as others but it was a good freshman effort.