Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza

 
First Line: Satkunananthan Sasmal would have been the first to admit he'd had worse nights working the midnight shift at his uncle's Valero station.
 
Andrea Abelman had a brilliant career as an FBI profiler ahead of her until she got pregnant. Now she's Andrea Stern, extremely pregnant with her fifth child, living in West Windsor, New Jersey, and busy taking her husband to the train station, her kids to school...to the pool...to their games...
 
Catching killers was in her rearview mirror until she pulled into a gas station and stumbled into a crime scene. With one look, it's easy for Andrea to see that the attending police officers are clueless. In no time flat, Andie finds herself pulled into the investigation, children in tow, and paired with the most unlikely partner: a disgraced journalist named Kenny Lee who is desperate for a return to his glory days.
 
Together, these two dig up simmering racial tensions, a few body parts, and a decades-old conspiracy. But do they have what it takes to bring a killer to justice?
 
~
 
You'll have to work long and hard to find a hero who makes a more memorable entrance (and exit) than Andrea (Andie) Stern. Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza has created a mystery that will fire up your mental movie screen and leave you wanting more. That is, you'll be begging for more unless you're a reader who does not like satire-- especially satire that pokes fun at the sanctity and inevitability of motherhood and children. Being childless by choice, Nicieza's humor was right up my alley, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
 
Nicieza is very adept with perfect turns of phrase and setting scenes, and I loved the character of Andie Stern. Andie has a brilliant criminalist's mind, able to see patterns that no one else can see, capable of absorbing the smallest details from crime scenes, and detecting the subtle nuances of a person's behavior. Having been instrumental in catching a serial killer before she ever graduated from college, Andie should have gone straight to the FBI. Now, years into a disappointing marriage to an investment banker on parole for playing around with other people's money, she realizes that the one thing she gave up in exchange for a wedding ring is the one thing she misses the most: her intellect and the joy of using it. Having babies and being a chauffeur just doesn't cut it. She needs more.
 
Kenny Lee is the weaker of the two characters, at least for me, probably because he exhibits that annoying reporter behavior that can drive most people insane. But he does have an important role in this amateur investigation. He's not merely an annoyance. Kenny was the youngest reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, "the college student who brought down the governor of New Jersey", an answer on Jeopardy! for crying out loud. But his fall from grace has him working for a weekly newspaper in West Windsor, New Jersey, and willing to do anything to be back in the spotlight.
 
As the investigation unfolds and pieces slowly begin to fall into place, I found myself expecting something to happen that never did. Andie, with 4.9 kids in tow, couldn't always find a babysitter, so it's fortunate indeed that anyone with criminal intent relied solely upon intimidation instead of anything stronger. I like it when an author does the unexpected, but then... Nicieza had to, didn't he? If he harmed a pregnant mother, readers would have come forthwith to his doorstep brandishing torches and pitchforks.
 
I enjoyed Suburban Dicks from first page to last, and with a main character who looks a man in the eye and calmly says, "How could I be obstructing the performance of your duties if you're not performing them?" how could I do anything other than say, "Mr. Nicieza, may I please have more Andie Stern?"  

Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza
ISBN: 9780593191262
G.P. Putnam's Sons © 2021
Hardcover, 400 pages
 
Amateur Sleuth
Rating: A
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.

27 comments:

  1. I was looking forward to your review of this book, hoping you'd like it. You did.
    I am still laughing about Barbara Peters' discussion with the author where she says no woman with 4.9 children could have a job like this, and asking him why Andie Stern had so many children. And saying that women can't race around with more than one child.

    It was like Andie Sterm was a real person. Now that is a book that tickles my curiosity. So I put it at the head of my library reserve list.

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    1. Andie's not going to become real in everyone's mind, but she certainly did in mine. I really enjoyed that virtual event with Peters and Nicieza. I might watch it again.

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  2. I'm in the middle of The Night Hawks. So good, it's like lapping up chocolate ice cream.

    A friend who loves this series stayed up all night to read this book, then emailed me and asked when the next book is coming out.

    I feel a post-good-book slump coming on and yet I have 170 pages to go. I feel like I know these people.
    s like

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    1. Griffiths is marvelous with her cast of characters. They do feel like friends that I've known for years.

      One thing that I don't think I've ever experienced is "post-good-book slump." If I've finished reading a marvelous book, I'm raring to go to find the next one. I know it's there, and who knows what will happen along the way?

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  3. OK, you had me at the title, Cathy. I'm already interested just on that score and on the fact that this has satire in it. What a great idea for a crime novel! And the premise is interesting, too. I think this one might have to go on the wish list....

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    1. I think it should, Margot. And I've just had the best news: Nicieza is working on book two for Andie. I'm so happy!

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  4. This does sound like fun. And Andie Stern...I already like her! :)

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    1. I did a Happy Dance this morning when Nicieza told me there was a book two for Andie. Yippee!

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  5. The premise of this one certainly intrigues me. The reality is it would be really hard to do almost anything you wanted to do with 4.9 kids in tow, let alone solve a crime. So, I am curious to see how the author handled this.

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    1. Yes indeed. Those 4.9 kids can really throw a monkey wrench into the works... and I do like the way Nicieza handled it.

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  6. Oh, I sww Rachel Howzell Hall's next book is out and you are reading These Toxic Things. I liked And Then She Was Gone, and I hope this book is as good.
    Will look for your review.

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    1. In some ways, I'm enjoying it more than I did And Then She Was Gone, although the main character is annoying me.

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  7. Looks good. Off to check it out.

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    1. Hope you get a chance to read and enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. This does sound good - thank you for introducing me to one I was not aware of yet! As the oldest of 4, I'm definitely interested in seeing how this mom handles crime solving along with parenting, even in satire.

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    1. Not all that much different from a real mom, I expect.

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  9. I'm pacing, gnawing my teeth, waiting for the library book or the Oversize version I can read at their website.

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  10. Well, you gave it an A and I saw the writer interviewed at the PP F
    Facebook page. I was so fascinated by the discussion about how a woman with nearly 5 children can be an investigator.

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  11. So now I"m reading this book, and although I have work to do, I keep picking it up. It is interesting. With so many books, parts may be boring. But this isn't.
    I do like Andie Stern and her brilliant mind.

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    1. So do I. That's why I was so happy to learn that there will be a book two.

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  12. Yes, yeah. I wish she could send her husband off somewhere and also that a full-time babysitter would arise.

    But I am only halfway through this. Stayed up very late reading it and still have miles to go before I finish.

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    1. Yes, that husband of hers could disappear, and I think Andie and I would both be happy.

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  13. And what about that herd of children? Andie Stern could get joint custody and have a full-time caregiver for the kids. She could use full-time pre-school and after-school programs.

    I realize my decision to be childless by choice was the right one. What if children were crying or fighting and I was off in my room reading a fascinating mystery?

    I know someone whose mother had five children and she stayed in her room and read. I get it.

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    1. I was never inclined to have children, and once I'd gotten a few years under my belt, I knew that there was no way I'd want to inflict myself on any poor unsuspecting child.

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