Monday, June 20, 2022

The Self-Made Widow by Fabian Nicieza

First Line: Derek Goode rarely had pleasant dreams anymore.
Uncovering a decades-old conspiracy in their New Jersey town made quite an impact on the lives of housewife Andie Stern and journalist Kenny Lee. After his success as Andie's sidekick, Kenny's reaping the benefits of a restored image. On the other hand, investigative savant Andie Stern now has five children and a husband who sincerely hopes she's got that "business" out of her system. It's time to forget all that and get back to diaper changes, carpools, and lunches with her girlfriends.

But once having had a taste of the career she always wanted, Andie is having a difficult time forcing herself back into the old grind. Her group of gal pals she secretly calls the Cellulitists (think cellulite and elitists), and when Cellulitist member Molly Goode's husband dies suddenly, things just don't add up for Andie. She's convinced that Molly killed her husband, and she begins to do a little digging.

Meanwhile, Kenny gets an anonymous phone tip that Molly Goode killed her husband. End result? Kenny is back in suburbia with Andie investigating a death.


I loved Fabian Nicieza's Suburban Dicks in which Andie Stern made her first appearance, and I'm thrilled to say that Andie's second appearance here in The Self-Made Widow is even better-- one of my Best Reads of 2022 better.

The Self-Made Widow is a many-layered how of a mystery. We all know Andie Stern is right-- Molly Goode did indeed kill her husband. The question is, how she did it, and the sheer joy is sitting back, turning the pages, and watching Andie strut her stuff (usually with a baby on her hip). I loved the humor-laced-with-sarcasm of the first book, but here-- although there's still plenty of humor-- it's a bit gentler and has been toned back. Since sarcasm isn't to everyone's taste, readers may find The Self-Made Widow more palatable. That's for them to discover for themselves, and I certainly hope they do.
If some of the focus is off the humor, what does the spotlight shine on here? It shines on the wonderfully plotted mystery, and it delves more deeply into the personalities and motivations of Andie and Kenny. Andie gets high marks for her parenting-while-sleuthing skills, and Nicieza never puts her or any of her children in danger, in case you're wondering. And speaking of those five children, each one of them has his or her own personality, something which would be difficult for many writers to pull off. In particular, I really enjoyed how Andie's oldest daughter, Ruth, is brought into the story, and how her perception of her mother has changed. 
Other cast members shine as well. Andie's new BFF Sathwika Duvvuri. The new chief of police Preet Anand. And Kenny's crew and his girlfriend who are working on the Netflix series based on his book about the case he and Andie solved the previous year. Who knows? If Andie and Kenny finally figure out how Molly killed her husband, Kenny may have another book and another series in the works, and he does love that fame and fortune. 

This is a banquet of a book. Wit and humor. Developing characters. A splendid howdunit. I don't know what Fabian Nicieza has up his sleeve next, but I can't wait to find out!

The Self-Made Widow by Fabian Nicieza
eISBN: 9780593191309
G.P. Putnam's Sons © 2022
eBook, 400 pages
Amateur Sleuth, #2 Stern & Lee mystery
Rating: A+
Source: Net Galley


  1. OK, then, Cathy, this is a series I clearly need to try. I like the premise and setup, and the characters sound interesting, too. They both sound believable. Oh, and there's wit, too? Definitely worth exploring then.

    1. I concur. I loved Suburban Dicks and have been on pins and needles waiting for the library to get The Self-Made Widow. The first book was so well-plotted, the characters great (although the husband is a dork and Andie should ditch him, except for the herd of children they have). She has a briliant mind and somehow solves murders while parenting this brood. This is a great series of two, and, hopefully, more books. I can't wait to stick my nose into this new book.

    2. And I can't wait for the third... there'd better be a third! I'll have to make a point of tuning in for The Poisoned Pen event with Nicieza to find out.

  2. You've convinced me! I think I would really like this one. :)

  3. I've got Suburban Dicks checked out of the library and am on the hold list for this one. I have a jillion books checked out of the library and am on the hold list for a jillion more. However, it's hot. What else can I do? LOL

    1. The exact same thing that I like to do in the summer... read! LOL


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