Excerpt from Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza , plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Suburban Dicks

by Fabian Nicieza

Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza X
Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2021, 400 pages

    May 2022, 400 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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Chapter One

Satkunananthan Sasmal would have been the first to admit he'd had worse nights working the midnight shift at his Uncle's Valero station. For example, there'd been a night last summer that had started out with such promise. Eight drunken girls, on their way home from clubbing at the beach, had piled out of a stretch limo at 4 A.M. They flirted with him before piling into the station's bathroom and regurgitating their night's activities across all four walls, the floor, and—somehow—the ceiling. For Satku, that had killed the mood.

Then there was the old lady who fell asleep while driving and plowed into the first island. Satkunananthan barely hit the kill switch on pump #3 before diving out of the car's path. The woman rolled down her window and asked him to fill her tank. Regular. Cash.

Then there was that time he had been robbed at gunpoint.

And the other time he had been robbed at knifepoint.

And the other time he had been robbed at spatula-point.

In his defense, it had been one of those long-handled metal barbecue spatulas.

And there was last night, when Satkunananthan Sasmal was murdered.

West Windsor police officers Michelle Wu and Niket Patel stood several yards apart, trying to avoid contaminating a crime scene they had already completely contaminated. This was new territory for the pair. The small New Jersey town hadn't seen a murder in over thirty years, and that had been a scorned wife hitting her husband over the head with a microwave oven. The patrol officers had six years on the job between them, with Michelle Wu having logged five years and four months of that.

Repulsed and attracted, she had tried to both look and not look at the corpse, and the strain of getting her eyes to move in different directions had given her a headache. Or perhaps it was watching Patel wrestle with the yellow police tape as he tried to stretch it across the entrance to the station that was causing her head to throb. She faced Rt. 571, where the entrance and exit horseshoed in from and back out to the four-lane highway.

Morning traffic had started to pick up. It was 6:35 a.m. Dispatch had received an anonymous call ten minutes earlier. The caller had fled the scene. Michelle hoped Detectives Rossi and Garmin would arrive. First interesting thing to happen in the West Windsor-Plainsboro area since Orson Welles had chosen Grover's Mill Pond as the landing site for an alien spacecraft eighty years ago, and Garmin refused to budge from his routine of getting a bagel and coffee before showing up to any morning call.

Niket continued to struggle with the tape. Michelle sighed and turned her attention to Satkunananthan. His head resembled a watermelon that had been broken on one side, but that was still less horrific than the sight of Niket simulating autoerotic asphyxiation with the perimeter tape.

The victim lay flat on his back. He had landed an inch from the concrete lip of the second island, closest to the building. The gas nozzle lay two feet from his hand. Blood had spattered across pump #4. The digital display on the pump was cracked. The bullet had likely gone clean through Satkunananthan's skull and lodged in the pump.

A large stain had dried across the front of the victim's pants. There was a smudged wet spot where his body had fallen, but it hadn't rained last night. She looked around. No visible drink containers or cups were in sight.

Shielding her eyes from the glare of the rising sun, Michelle studied the small brick structure behind her. It had a locked utility door entrance in the center. On either side of the door stood a soda machine and an ice machine. The lone bathroom was around the corner on the right side of the building. She spotted five bullet strikes. Three of them had dug into the brick. One had hit the soda machine and one had dented the left metal door of the ice machine. She stepped around Satkunananthan Sasmal's body. She looked over the spray of shots. The murderer was no marksman. Scared kid? First robbery?

Excerpted from Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza. Copyright © 2021 by Fabian Nicieza. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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