Through Methods

Suburban Dicks

I just finished Fabian Nicieza’s debut novel, “Suburban Dicks.” I normally don’t read a lot of mysteries - especially not ones in a semi-comedic vein (I have Britbox and Acorn for that kind of thing), but Nicieza wrote many of my favorite comic books of the 90s (he’s best known, and hyped here, as “the co-creator of Deadpool,” but I mostly liked his “New Warriors” and “Wonder Man” runs), so I gave it a shot.

The real attraction for me was the very specific sense of place: this is set just outside of Plainsboro, NJ, and while I only was at Princeton for a year, all the details (about that town specifically, and suburban NJ more generally) are spot on, as is the underlying premise of secrets in these towns arising from their rapid development from farmland, and the racial tensions caused by the influx of Indian and Chinese residents in the 90s.

I won’t get into spoiler territory, but while I didn’t like one of the main characters (nor is the reader supposed to), and it faltered a but when Nicieza tried to get a little too serious, the plotting is tight, and the deep attention to geographic detail covers a lot of sins (I’ve never previously read a novel in which the traffic on Route One coming off the Parkway was a plot point). This book was apparently the subject of a bit of a bidding war between publishing houses, and is clearly being set up for a sequel, so I’d be interested to hear what anyone who isn’t from the area thought about it.

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