Hardcover, 339 pg.https://www.mulhollandbooks.com/titles/joe-ide/hi-five/9780316509534/
Read: February 10-16, 2020
Isaiah has tried to move on after the heartbreak of Wrecked, and has a new girlfriend. This is unfortunate for her—not because IQ is a bad boyfriend or anything—it’s just that when a low-life gun dealer needs Isaiah to investigate something for him, he threatens the poor girl to insure that Isaiah will do it.
What he needs Isaiah to do is clear his daughter of murder. She’s the only witness to the event, but can’t give the police (or our hero) much information about it, despite being in the same room as the murder. Why? Well (and this feels like spoiling something, but it’s on the book jacket), she has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)—what we used to call Multiple Personality Disorder—and given the stress and danger presented by a man being shot in her shop, Christina wasn’t “there” for most of what happened. Now, did her father bother mentioning this to Isaiah? Nope. but he thankfully figures that out fairly quickly. So now our intrepid investigator has to look into a murder with an eyewitness/prime suspect who didn’t see anything, and who can’t convince anyone who did see something to say something—and if he doesn’t succeed, someone he cares about will pay the penalty (and he assumes he’ll pay, too).
This is such a fantastic idea for a murder case—it could easily be a sloppily executed idea, but if someone does their homework and does a responsible job depicting DID, this is a wonderful fodder for drama. Please, if there are other examples of mystery writers doing this, fill up the comments with titles. I’d love to read other versions of this—and can’t believe that Ide’s the first to do this.
Most authors would be content to fully develop this idea and run with it for the whole novel. But not Ide. In fact, as interesting as it is, the murder case is not the most interesting thing about Hi Five. I’m pretty sure that’s impressive. To take a concept like that and say, “well, sure, but what’s important is the trouble that Isaiah finds himself in because of the investigation.” That’s bad enough, but Isaiah has recently run afoul of a gang of white supremacists after gang violence has hit someone that Isaiah and Dodson (particularly Dodson) respect and admire.
Oh, and Grace is back.
Ide also finds a way to work in some lighter stories and even a little sweetness. And the book never feels crowded, and everything gets dealt with in the space it needs. Sure, I’d have preferred to spend more time dealing with Christina and her “alters,” but that’s a personal taste thing. I’m a sucker for a good DID story. But what Ide wanted to focus on justifies cutting that storyline some of the space I’d prefer it get.
The tension is high and Isaiah has never seemed more human and fallible (including when he was being waterboarded because of some foolish moves).
Some of the reviews I’ve read about this book seem to think that Ide’s wrapping up the series here. I can see why they’d say that, Hi Five could certainly serve as a fitting end to the series. but it seems to e that Ide has more he wants to say. The way he left things with Isaiah points to a triumphant return. Also, toward the end of the novel, something pretty significant happens to Deondra and I just don’t see Ide leaving things where he did and just walking away—the scene is extraneous unless he’s coming back to follow up on it. I hope I’m reading things right, but if I’m not, this is a solid way to go out.
This is not my favorite of the series, but it is so, so good, that it doesn’t bother me too much. It’s just a pleasure to be back in this prose, in this world, with most of these characters. A great mystery (with a better hook), some great character development, a client you can’t help but loathe—but a subject that you’ll pull for (and want to see more of). Hi Five is just one more proof that Joe Ide is one of the best writers in the genre right now. This is a decent entry to start with, but you’d be better off starting with IQ. But honestly, just grab the nearest book by Ide and enjoy.