With Righteous, Joe Ide has proven that IQ, his first novel, was no fluke. Using the gritty streets of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas as the backdrop for his sophomore venture, Righteous solidifies Isaiah Quintabe, or IQ on the street, as the newest star player in the mystery/thriller category.

A genius kid from the hood guaranteed scholarships at the best universities in the country, IQ’s life falls apart when his older brother and guardian dies in a mysterious hit and run. Convinced his brother’s death was no accident, IQ spends the next many years contemplating how to find his brother’s killer so he can exact vengeance. He doesn’t continue his schooling. He doesn’t move out of the hood. He doesn’t find a job matching his mental acuity and pay grade. Instead, he hunkers down in the house where his brother raised him and spends his days as a P.I. working-Robin Hood-style for the financially strapped neighborhood. Not much scares him, and he’ll go head-to-head with the scariest of killers, coupling his smarts with a fatalistic dose of “if it’s my time, so be it.”

Righteous gets far more personal than the eponymous debut. Expanding his footprint as a writer, Ide runs parallel story lines dovetailing as the book narrows in on a bullet-ridden denouement. While hunting down his brother’s killer, his brother’s ex-girlfriend shows up out of the blue asking him to find her sister. Grabbing his reluctant partner in crime to better his odds, Isaiah and Dodson find themselves outgunned, outnumbered, and unprepared for the violence coming their way.

Grab this title and start reading Friday night. You’ll be done before you go to work on Monday.