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The Self-Made Widow

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From the cocreator of Deadpool and author of Suburban Dicks comes a diabolically funny murder mystery that features two incredibly likable--and unlikely--sleuths investigating a murder that reveals the dark underbelly of suburban marriage. After suburban mother of five and former FBI profiler Andie Stern solved a mysterious murder--and unraveled a decades old conspiracy--in From the cocreator of Deadpool and author of Suburban Dicks comes a diabolically funny murder mystery that features two incredibly likable--and unlikely--sleuths investigating a murder that reveals the dark underbelly of suburban marriage. After suburban mother of five and former FBI profiler Andie Stern solved a mysterious murder--and unraveled a decades old conspiracy--in her New Jersey town, both her husband and the West Windsor police hope that she will set aside crime-fighting and go back to carpools, changing diapers, and lunches with her group of mom-friends, who she secretly calls The Cellulitists. But Andie can't help but get involved after the husband of Queen Bee Cellulitist Molly Goode is found dead--and signs point to Molly's involvement. As Andie begins to dig into the case, she risks more than just the clique's wrath--and what she discovers might hit shockingly close to home. Meanwhile, journalist Kenny Lee is enjoying his rehabilitated image after his work with Andie. But he too is drawn back into the thicket of suburban scandals in West Windsor, which in this involve secrets, affairs, and a huge sum of money. Andie and Kenny once again are thrust into a mystery that is in turns terrifying and titillating--and altogether original.


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From the cocreator of Deadpool and author of Suburban Dicks comes a diabolically funny murder mystery that features two incredibly likable--and unlikely--sleuths investigating a murder that reveals the dark underbelly of suburban marriage. After suburban mother of five and former FBI profiler Andie Stern solved a mysterious murder--and unraveled a decades old conspiracy--in From the cocreator of Deadpool and author of Suburban Dicks comes a diabolically funny murder mystery that features two incredibly likable--and unlikely--sleuths investigating a murder that reveals the dark underbelly of suburban marriage. After suburban mother of five and former FBI profiler Andie Stern solved a mysterious murder--and unraveled a decades old conspiracy--in her New Jersey town, both her husband and the West Windsor police hope that she will set aside crime-fighting and go back to carpools, changing diapers, and lunches with her group of mom-friends, who she secretly calls The Cellulitists. But Andie can't help but get involved after the husband of Queen Bee Cellulitist Molly Goode is found dead--and signs point to Molly's involvement. As Andie begins to dig into the case, she risks more than just the clique's wrath--and what she discovers might hit shockingly close to home. Meanwhile, journalist Kenny Lee is enjoying his rehabilitated image after his work with Andie. But he too is drawn back into the thicket of suburban scandals in West Windsor, which in this involve secrets, affairs, and a huge sum of money. Andie and Kenny once again are thrust into a mystery that is in turns terrifying and titillating--and altogether original.

30 review for The Self-Made Widow

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael David (on hiatus)

    In the sequel to Suburban Dicks, two suburban dicks (investigators) find more suburban dicks (dicky people in the suburbs) doing dickish behavior in the suburbs. After breaking her water on camera at a press conference after the events in book #1, Andie Stern is back in relative shape...and relative sanity. She has 5 kids, 1 of whom is an infant. Even though she briefly worked as an FBI Profiler, she’s not exactly satisfied NOW playing stay at home mom. Lucky for her, she has a penchant for track In the sequel to Suburban Dicks, two suburban dicks (investigators) find more suburban dicks (dicky people in the suburbs) doing dickish behavior in the suburbs. After breaking her water on camera at a press conference after the events in book #1, Andie Stern is back in relative shape...and relative sanity. She has 5 kids, 1 of whom is an infant. Even though she briefly worked as an FBI Profiler, she’s not exactly satisfied NOW playing stay at home mom. Lucky for her, she has a penchant for tracking crimes and solving them…as well as catching killers. UNLUCKILY for her, she now suspects that her friend, Molly Goode, murdered her husband. Andie’s instincts are good, and she knows when she’s right, so she starts digging into the Goodes’ background. Little does Andie know that the secrets she uncovers might involve someone a little too close for comfort. Journalist Kenny Lee has finally regained some respect after helping Andie with the case in book #1. He’s about to release a book called Suburban Secrets, and is also working on a Netflix series. Then, he gets an anonymous phone call from someone stating that Molly did, in fact, kill her husband. Now, Andie and Kenny are once again working together, along with an eclectic cast of characters, to solve another crime. Can they do that without tearing their personal lives apart? I had a blast with the first book in the series, and I’m happy to report this one was no different. It’s a fun, clever read that is just BEGGING to be adapted for the big screen (It’s written by the co-creator of Deadpool after all). While the first book delved a bit deeper into seriously dark and racial issues, this one delves into stuff as well…while still keeping things fun and including many LOL moments. The F-bombs are endless…endlessly hilarious, that is (I F’ing love Andie). The humor might be offensive to the Karen’s of the world. The culprit won’t be a shock (unless I’m lying). But everything in this comedic mystery works. A few of the early reviews mention that there are too many characters to keep track of. However, many of them state they never read the first book in the series. While I think some of the reviews aren’t legit, I’d suggest starting at the beginning if this sounds appealing to you. I see a clear, concise, hilarious path for this series if it continues. I so hope it does! Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for a widget of the ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Expected Publication Date: 6/21/22. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    Surprisingly good the 2nd time around. ⏰ 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫: Andie Stern is back, this time eyeing a mystery even closer to home - the sudden death of a friend’s husband. Everyone writes it off as natural causes, but uh-uh, not Andie. But just HOW close to home will this one get? And is Andie prepared for how much she stands to lose? 💡𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬: I enjoyed Dicks the first time, but I must say that a second round of good Dicks was what the summer ordered (it doesn’t count when you’re on vacation). Surprisingly good the 2nd time around. ⏰ 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫: Andie Stern is back, this time eyeing a mystery even closer to home - the sudden death of a friend’s husband. Everyone writes it off as natural causes, but uh-uh, not Andie. But just HOW close to home will this one get? And is Andie prepared for how much she stands to lose? 💡𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬: I enjoyed Dicks the first time, but I must say that a second round of good Dicks was what the summer ordered (it doesn’t count when you’re on vacation). But mostly I love the fact I just got to say “Dicks” so many times in my review (and yes, autocorrect I am STILL sure that should not be DUCKS!!) I literally JUST reviewed another book where I stated I wanted to see a novel where “Karens” earn their comeuppance. Enter the Self-Made Widow!! With his token brand of dry sarcasm and subtle sass (I speak this fluently), Nicieza spins a tale too crazy to predict and too riveting to put down. The first 1/2 of the novel is a bit slower - an unhurried unveiling of mystery tidbits like a mama bird feeding its babies, but after 70%? It felt like a Hungry Hungry Hippo frenzy of good ol’ ca-razy! I loved his first novel and Nicieza is finding his stride in this follow-up by delving into Andie’s personal life (which I wanted more of in novel 1!) and answering the questions that left me hanging from the first story. Andie is the gem - a REAL protagonist with some junk in the trunk after five kids, juggling it all, trying to find her relevance and live her best life - so relatable to so many, and she’s brilliant. Nothing better than a capable, well-written, female protagonist for me! Also loved Sathwika, the trusty side-kick in this one, who is shaping up to prove pivotal in novel 3 (oh yes, I will be needing more Dicks. Not enough Dicks)! Kenny Lee is my one “meh” as he returned this novel to mostly prove irrelevant, but I don’t think I’m supposed to like him. He’s the pest of a character that won’t go away, but in the end he plays a nice foil to Andie. 𝗔𝗹𝗹 𝗺𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄𝘀 𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝗦𝗰𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗽𝘆𝗠𝗮𝗴𝘀.𝗰𝗼𝗺 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝘂𝗯𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. 📚𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: Mystery with a dash of sarcasm 😍𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨: Def read if you liked the first or you’re a mystery reader wanting something different. 🙅‍♀️ 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨: If sarcasm and blunt honesty isn’t your thing. Thank you to the author, NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my always-honest review and for making me write my favorite review so far this year.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    Suburban housewife and freelance investigative ace Andrea Stern and journalist and documentarian Kenny Lee return for their second soft-boiled case in The Self-Made Widow, a follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated Suburban Dicks. This time around, the case lands even closer to home after the husband of one of Andrea's friends drops dead of heart failure. The only problem is, despite all evidence to the contrary, Andrea is convinced that Molly murdered her hubby, but all she has to go on is a hunc Suburban housewife and freelance investigative ace Andrea Stern and journalist and documentarian Kenny Lee return for their second soft-boiled case in The Self-Made Widow, a follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated Suburban Dicks. This time around, the case lands even closer to home after the husband of one of Andrea's friends drops dead of heart failure. The only problem is, despite all evidence to the contrary, Andrea is convinced that Molly murdered her hubby, but all she has to go on is a hunch. At least until Kenny Lee re-enters her life, having received an anonymous phone call informing him that Molly did indeed kill Derek. That Molly is guilty won't come as much surprise to anyone who's read past the title, or at least noted the numerous incongruities in the events that open chapter one and Molly's explanation of events (i.e. lies, lies, lies!) to the first responders. Readers will find themselves right on the same page as Andrea, with Molly suspect numero uno. The recently-widowed Goode's guilt is never in doubt, and The Self-Made Widow is less a whodunit than a howdunit and a whydunit. Author Fabian Nicieza takes us through the investigation step-by-step, as Stern and Lee interrogate Stern's friends, the rich housewives of her suburban New Jersey community that she mockingly refers to as the Cellulitists (a mash-up of celluite and elitists), and dig into Molly and Derek's past, slowly peeling back the very many layers of conspiracy and murder. As a writer best known in comic book circles for co-creating Marvel's wiseass mutant Deadpool, Nicieza shines here with his witty banter, sarcastic dialogue, and wry observations on suburban existence. The prose is crisp, but it's the character interactions that really keep the reader invested, at least aside from the intriguing murder investigation. If Andrea is a suburban housewife take on Sherlock Holmes, then Molly Goode is, without a doubt, her Moriarty. A detail-oriented perfectionist, Molly is smart and tack-sharp, having meticulously accounted for every facet of an investigation against her, including Andrea's involvement. Nicieza writes a really fun cat-and-mouse hunt, making the stakes incredibly personal as the investigation draws Andrea's own family deeper into Stern's quest for justice. Although I generally prefer my mysteries more hard-boiled and violent, the soft-boiled Suburban Dicks became a fast favorite for me thanks to its wit and charm. The Self-Made Widow solidifies Nicieza as an author to watch for, and welcomingly fills the gap left by Veronica Mars' absence (God, I miss Veronica...). It's clear he intends on returning to Andrea Stern and Kenny Lee for at least one more case (hopefully more!), as he sets-up some changes in Andrea's dynamic to her community, friends, and family, which lay an interesting foundation for Nicieza to build upon in Book Three. Mark me down for more slain suburbanites, true believers!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marty Fried

    I enjoyed this book, but in some ways, it was a lot of work following all the different characters with their unusual names, especially as an audiobook. It got fairly complicated, and there was a murderer among the group that we think we know, but it seems so unlikely. Well, that's the story, figuring out the why, and then the who. This was not really the sort of story that kept me going all night, except I wanted to finish it quickly because I have a few others waiting that I really want to read I enjoyed this book, but in some ways, it was a lot of work following all the different characters with their unusual names, especially as an audiobook. It got fairly complicated, and there was a murderer among the group that we think we know, but it seems so unlikely. Well, that's the story, figuring out the why, and then the who. This was not really the sort of story that kept me going all night, except I wanted to finish it quickly because I have a few others waiting that I really want to read. So, I more rushed through it than read because I couldn't put it down. Still, it was a fun read. One fun little bit was about the book Kenny the reporter was working on, Suburban Secrets. He originally wanted to call it Suburban Dicks, but the publisher didn't like it. Another character said "Suburban Dicks is really a gross title."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (The best boyfriends are book boyfriends)

    Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc! I didn't realize this book was a sequel. However, as I read, the story contains plenty of information about the MC and her past plus what has led up to this book that I was able to fully understand pretty much everything. And, one thing is for sure, I loved this read! This author has created some incredibly interesting characters in Andrea and in the person that helped in solving this mystery, Kenny. I never knew exactly what to expect from either of Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc! I didn't realize this book was a sequel. However, as I read, the story contains plenty of information about the MC and her past plus what has led up to this book that I was able to fully understand pretty much everything. And, one thing is for sure, I loved this read! This author has created some incredibly interesting characters in Andrea and in the person that helped in solving this mystery, Kenny. I never knew exactly what to expect from either of them. This story takes place in a suburban setting in New Jersey where Andrea lives. It seems she was just starting to fit in with the other suburbanites until one of their husband's die and Andrea begins to suspect murder. I loved how this had a balance between representing both healthy and unhealthy relationships in friendship and marriage. And, I also love how the author didn't sugarcoat the ugly side of situations like this from any angle. Overall, I really liked this book and definitely recommend this as a thrilling, fast-paced murder/mystery! Out June 21st!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Thank you for inviting me to review this book. I received an advance review copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on this book. First, I have reviewed the first book in the series, and really enjoyed it. This book starts as a continuation of the first book. To me, it feels like the author assumes us to have some knowledge of these main characters and their relationships. It assumes some level of knowledge about what Andie and Kenny have been through in book 1 and took off from th Thank you for inviting me to review this book. I received an advance review copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on this book. First, I have reviewed the first book in the series, and really enjoyed it. This book starts as a continuation of the first book. To me, it feels like the author assumes us to have some knowledge of these main characters and their relationships. It assumes some level of knowledge about what Andie and Kenny have been through in book 1 and took off from there. As I have read the first book, I cannot really tell how much this will impact a reader who has not read the first book but just jumped in on this one. My gut feeling is not knowing the background story will somewhat hinder the reader's understanding of these characters, but my past experience of starting a book/movie from volume 2 or 3 has taught me that it may not have that much impact. This IS a new story. A new case. A new focus. So take that however you will. Secondly, I feel that the tone of this book is quite different from the first one. There's a lacking of humor that was omnipresent in book one. The book focuses more on the personal growth of the two main characters--Andie and Kenny. While I really enjoyed seeing these two develop more as characters, I do wish there were more lightness to the book and fewer "growth pains". And coming back to my previous point, I do wonder how much a reader who doesn't know these characters coming into the story will experience their growth. It's hard for me to gauge. Lastly, just as in the first book, it took me a little bit of time to get into the storytelling. For some reason, these books always seem to have a slow start for me. I didn't get really invested in the story and wanted to know what happens next until about 1/3 way in. Although, this may have more to do with how I read stories than the book itself. In summary, I feel like this is a really solid book for someone who has read the first one and is interested in these characters. I really like it when authors try to develop their characters and make them more complex and alive, and I think the author has done a decent job here. However, do expect this book to feel different from the first one. The crime element is still complex and touches so many aspects of our lives and society at large. But the tone does feel different. For a new reader who didn't read book one, I feel like the book should still be quite enjoyable. Knowing the backstory in book 1 definitely adds value to the story, but not knowing the backstory shouldn't be a huge hindrance to enjoying the story. I feel like this book lies somewhere between 3-4 out of 5.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Self-Made Widow. I was pretty excited to read this series since I enjoyed the first book. The author 's writing style and tone is not for everyone; he provides plenty of exposition for major and secondary characters, giving us insight into their background, motivation, and what created the person you see before you. But I enjoy his writing, as well as his humorous tone without being sarcastic and snide. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** The second book in the s Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Self-Made Widow. I was pretty excited to read this series since I enjoyed the first book. The author 's writing style and tone is not for everyone; he provides plenty of exposition for major and secondary characters, giving us insight into their background, motivation, and what created the person you see before you. But I enjoy his writing, as well as his humorous tone without being sarcastic and snide. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** The second book in the series welcomes back Andie Stern, mother of five and wife of disgraced financier, Jeff, and Kenny Lee, former disgraced reporter, who is flying high on the success from the conclusion of the first case. When the husband of a friend of hers dies, Andie suspects her friend of murder. Andie is a complex character, which I appreciate the author taking time to create. She's street smart, crafty, and has always regretted not taking her true path, a fulfilling career to fighting crime, now forever doomed to a suburban life, her brains and talents wasted at home. There's a lot going on, just like in the first book; lots of characters and moving pieces, who did what and who did this, children are involved in this case, specifically Andie's oldest daughter as well as the deceased man's sons. There's no mystery here; we know whodunit. The Self-Made Widow is about the people; how Andie continues to struggle with parenthood and motherhood and her desire to bring criminals to justice; Kenny balancing work and love; Andie and Jeff's disintegrating marriage; how we do stupid things when we're bored, entitled, angry and frustrated with our lives and ourselves. What the author does well is write real characters; yes, Andie and Kenny are smart and savvy and good at what they do, but they're also human. They make mistakes; they're flawed, they're relentless, they're angry and they hurt people in their pursuit of justice. And that kind of don't care. I look forward to the next book in the series. Great cover!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe Kucharski

    Fabian Nicieza returns to that bastion of crime and corruption, West Windsor, NJ, in The Self-Made Widow, the riotous follow-up to the chart-topping, guilty pleasure, Suburban Dicks . Coupling Jersey-style sarcasm with floor-to-ceiling expletives, Widow is the fun return of housemom/profiler Andie Stern who finds herself drawn into yet another murder-mystery, this one definitely closer-to-home than she would have liked. Yet for all its quick wit and razor-sharp dialogue, The Self-Made Widow f Fabian Nicieza returns to that bastion of crime and corruption, West Windsor, NJ, in The Self-Made Widow, the riotous follow-up to the chart-topping, guilty pleasure, Suburban Dicks . Coupling Jersey-style sarcasm with floor-to-ceiling expletives, Widow is the fun return of housemom/profiler Andie Stern who finds herself drawn into yet another murder-mystery, this one definitely closer-to-home than she would have liked. Yet for all its quick wit and razor-sharp dialogue, The Self-Made Widow feels like a story that should have come later if this were to be a series. The inter-relational dynamics were too deep; the mystery too aloof. The Self-Made Widow finds Andie Stern called in to help her friend, Molly Goode, after Molly’s husband is found dead. A weak ticker is the culprit. Yet both Andie and intrepid, if miserable, reporter Kenny Lee feel their spider-sense go off. Something is not kosher with Molly. Is she a suffering widow? Or is she public enemy number one? Nicieza has always been a master of dialogue even since his time with Marvel (go read his run on The New Warriors! Do it!). The style he established with Suburban Dicks seamlessly follows through here. What Widow lacks, however, is that strong mystery that not only ensnares the characters but lures in the reader. A good third of the book is all set up, catch-up, and development. Although this is certainly good for the new reader, the pace becomes lethargic for what should be a rock ‘em-sock ‘em murder-mystery. When the pace finally does pick up, Nicieza unleashes both barrels of back-stabbing fun and hardcore neo-noir. He presents conflict with Andie who is fed up with the Jersey-girl image, a low-mileage minivan, and sacrificed career. He clues non-Jerseyites on how I-295 really flows, our annoyance-with-yet-addiction-to Wegmans, and why self-pump gas stations are not necessarily the best. And he has zero problems with altering the status quo on any and all characters. The Self-Made Widow perfectly fits the Jersey crime subgenre that Nicieza is incredibly adept at portraying. The characters are real, and familiar, and annoying. As a sequel, the set-up is longer than the Free Fall queue at Great Adventure but the payout is as genuine as getting a third encore from Bruce. Thanks to G.P. Putnam's Sons for the invite. Looking forward to what Fabe has lined up next. This review and many more are all online over @ Joe's

  9. 4 out of 5

    Britney Young

    After solving a murder and decades old conspiracy in her hometown, mother of five Andie Stern doesn't last long attending playdates, kid's soccer games or luncheons with her group of mom friends, before finding her next murder to solve. When Molly Goode's husband unexpectedly dies, everything points to natural causes. But Andie feels like something is amiss and starts to investigate the possibility Molly killed her husband. Her suspicions are further fueled when her old pal and journalist, Kenny After solving a murder and decades old conspiracy in her hometown, mother of five Andie Stern doesn't last long attending playdates, kid's soccer games or luncheons with her group of mom friends, before finding her next murder to solve. When Molly Goode's husband unexpectedly dies, everything points to natural causes. But Andie feels like something is amiss and starts to investigate the possibility Molly killed her husband. Her suspicions are further fueled when her old pal and journalist, Kenny Lee, gets an anonymous phone call from someone saying that Molly killed her husband. The two dig deeper, risking friendships, business deals, and in Andie's case, her relationship with her very own husband. I thought this book was entertaining and engaging. It was a quick read that flowed well and was extremely detailed without being overbearing. All the characters were complex and developed, with distinct personalities and were utilized within the plot well. I did appreciate the small moments of dark humor throughout, although since this is from one of the cocreators of Deadpool, I was expecting there to be a lot more. The crime itself was filled with twists and turns, yet easy to track and understand. With that said, I did have a few issues with this book. The first issue isn't the author's or the story's fault, but rather my own. I didn't realize this was the second book in a series. Having not read the first book, I did find it difficult to understand the connections and backstories between all the returning characters. I also wasn't aware of the previous crime Andie had solved, or how that investigation lead to everyone having the dynamics between each other that they have in this story. For that reason, I wish I had gone back and read "Suburban Dicks" before reading this. My next issue was that it felt like Andie and Kenny were investigating different crimes. I wish they worked a bit more together, instead of investigating on their own and then checking in with each other. In that respect, I didn't feel like the whole crime felt as cohesive as it should've been. Overall, I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for a engaging, easy to read crime novel that isn't too heavy yet still packs a punch!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    Discovering Fabian Nicieza's Suburban Dicks was one of the highlights of my reading year. I read 728 books, and it made my top 10 list, that's how much I loved it. And I've been looking forward to the follow up for a year. Those are mighty high expectations! I'm glad to say that I was not disappointed. I'll be honest and say that the murder at the heart of the mystery wasn't quite as compelling as the previous one, but it was a fine mystery. But for me, the pleasure of these books lies with the c Discovering Fabian Nicieza's Suburban Dicks was one of the highlights of my reading year. I read 728 books, and it made my top 10 list, that's how much I loved it. And I've been looking forward to the follow up for a year. Those are mighty high expectations! I'm glad to say that I was not disappointed. I'll be honest and say that the murder at the heart of the mystery wasn't quite as compelling as the previous one, but it was a fine mystery. But for me, the pleasure of these books lies with the characters. Who they are, what the relationships are between them, etc. First and foremost, Andi Stern is a fascinating woman, so gifted but not without significant flaws. As I read Andi, I would wonder if the author is married, because there are so many things about her that ring true to me, particularly her many contradictions. Who has this guy been observing? He's clearly been paying attention. Andi's relationship with several (All?) of the characters comes under strain, and these interactions are interesting. Conflict drives fiction. A lot of her relationships evolve and change from the first book, and within this one. And all of this sounds intense--and sometimes it is--but these books are also funny. What I love is that the humor is consistently grounded in character and reality. I love a good laugh, but get annoyed when characters act unbelievably for a joke. In Mr. Nicieza's hands, the humor is organic because there's plenty to laugh at in life. Especially when you're a mom with five kids in tow. Suburban Dicks ended memorably at a moment of high drama. So too does The Self-Made Widow. It leaves me feeling very optimistic that there will be a book three. Fabian Nicieza has officially become a highlight of summer. Let the long wait commence!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I came into this mystery series completely blind and SOOO enjoyed it!! Who wouldn't love to root for a former FBI profiler turned stay at home suburban mother of FIVE who smells something fishy when the husband of one of her neighbors turns up dead, supposedly due to his pre-existing heart condition. Not willing to leave things alone, Andy teams up with her fellow crime-solving partner from the first book, Kenny Lee (much to her husband's chagrin). This was a great look at the challenges and str I came into this mystery series completely blind and SOOO enjoyed it!! Who wouldn't love to root for a former FBI profiler turned stay at home suburban mother of FIVE who smells something fishy when the husband of one of her neighbors turns up dead, supposedly due to his pre-existing heart condition. Not willing to leave things alone, Andy teams up with her fellow crime-solving partner from the first book, Kenny Lee (much to her husband's chagrin). This was a great look at the challenges and struggles of suburban life, marriage and motherhood with a compelling mystery thrown in. Add in smart characters, snappy dialogue and great narration by Emily Woo Zeller and I was completely sold! Excuse me while I go binge the first book in the series. Recommended for fans of Cherie Priest or the show Dead to me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    M.

    Well, that was a humdinger! Nothing like greed, larceny and a little murder to keep you turning those pages.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    I absolutely loved Fabian Nicieza's Edgar Award nominated debut novel, Suburban Dicks. I was thrilled to see that he had penned a follow up - The Self-Made Widow. Would it measure up to the five star first book? It did indeed! At the center of the cast of characters is Andrea Stern. She was an up and coming profiler with the FBI many years ago. And then she got pregnant, married and now has five children. But does that stop her from investigating? Nope! (Her mothering skills had me laughing out I absolutely loved Fabian Nicieza's Edgar Award nominated debut novel, Suburban Dicks. I was thrilled to see that he had penned a follow up - The Self-Made Widow. Would it measure up to the five star first book? It did indeed! At the center of the cast of characters is Andrea Stern. She was an up and coming profiler with the FBI many years ago. And then she got pregnant, married and now has five children. But does that stop her from investigating? Nope! (Her mothering skills had me laughing out loud more than once.) Andrea has the respect of a number of law enforcement agencies after the last case. The other main character is Kenny Lee. He's a journalist and is flying high on the success that the last case brought to him. The relationship between he and Andrea is, well, complicated. There is a wealth of supporting characters including the Cellulitists - a group of neighborhood mothers. This latest case involves them directly as one of their husbands has died. But Andrea can't let go of the idea that it was murder, not a natural death. And she's like a dog with a bone... Okay, fabulous characters that are really well drawn. Check. We met them in the first book and Nicieza has continued fleshing them out, touching on a number of real concerns, thoughts, events and more. Next? A fantastic plot! This is not a cozy series. The plot premise is so well written and it was difficult to suss out the final whodunit. The reader is along for the ride, presented with the same clues as our characters. Wonderfully creative writing. Fun, fresh, different, engaging and just a whole lot of fun to read. Nicieza is the co-creator of Marvel's Deadpool. Uh, huh that same wry humor, an unusual, intriguing mystery and two decidedly different leads make this another 'can't put it down read.' Highly recommended and an easy five stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This one comes out tomorrow and as I am reading the first few chapters this one grabs you right at the beginning. Also I mean the title makes you curious right lol. This is set after the Suburban Dicks with the same cast of characters except now there is another murder which appears to be natural causes cause they had a heart condition but they are only 40, cue terror for me in my early 40's, but it doesn't seem quite right. I just love, as a mom, how Andrea, the former FBI profiler now very close This one comes out tomorrow and as I am reading the first few chapters this one grabs you right at the beginning. Also I mean the title makes you curious right lol. This is set after the Suburban Dicks with the same cast of characters except now there is another murder which appears to be natural causes cause they had a heart condition but they are only 40, cue terror for me in my early 40's, but it doesn't seem quite right. I just love, as a mom, how Andrea, the former FBI profiler now very close to PI, takes her kids with her to investigate matters. Life doesn't stop when you become a mom and they are very helpful in buttering people up or making them uncomfortable, lol. I love a good mystery and how some people are so good at covering their tracks. But all it takes is one weak link or a loose thread and everything unravels right when they thought they were about to get away with it. Btw I love all the people that were blaming Andrea for ruining their lives cause she uncovered the truth. Um sorry you have to actually accept the consequences of your actions. She did not make you do any of those things. Listening to how belligerent people are irl I can totally see people doing this. Tip of the day from Andrea Stern:  Remember to cut out those toxic people out of your life albeit by handcuffs or a heart to heart.  Thank you putnambooks and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    Andie firmly believes that Molly killed her husband Derek. But how and why? Her friend Kenny, a journalist now working with Netflix on the adaptation of the book he wrote about their first investigation, agrees. Together they, along with Andie's friend Sawitha and Kenny's co-workers, set out to get answers. And what an answer it is. This careens around New Jersey, financial schemes, and the underbelly of suburbia. Andie's fifth kid, Jojo is along for the ride and even though she isn't talking ye Andie firmly believes that Molly killed her husband Derek. But how and why? Her friend Kenny, a journalist now working with Netflix on the adaptation of the book he wrote about their first investigation, agrees. Together they, along with Andie's friend Sawitha and Kenny's co-workers, set out to get answers. And what an answer it is. This careens around New Jersey, financial schemes, and the underbelly of suburbia. Andie's fifth kid, Jojo is along for the ride and even though she isn't talking yet, she's a welcome injection of humor into the complicated story. Molly is both smart and devious but Andie's smarter and more devious. She's also smarter than her husband Jeff, who has been in trouble before and well.....I was a huge fan of Suburban Dicks, which was, I think better in some ways because it was such a surprise. This also feels sadder. There are a couple of diversions into tragic episodes in Kenny and Andie's lives. There's also Molly's kids. And the argument between Jeff and Andie. That said, it's tricky, complex and engaging with flashes of humor (and a couple of inside-isms such as the choice of gin). Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. Nicieza has left a clear opening for the next one given that some things are left unanswered (no spoilers) and that there's new beginnings ahead. I'm looking forward to it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rosann

    The Self-Made Widow is the second in a series called Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza. It is every bit as good as the intro. and a bit better. Nicieza puts together a well written, swiftly moving mystery/thriller/comedy. One main protagonist, as in "Suburban Dicks" is a frustrated and ambitious reporter, looking for redemption and fame. Heading up their partnership in crime detection is a former FBI hopeful and smartest woman in the room who is juggling housewifery, multiple children, a marriage The Self-Made Widow is the second in a series called Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza. It is every bit as good as the intro. and a bit better. Nicieza puts together a well written, swiftly moving mystery/thriller/comedy. One main protagonist, as in "Suburban Dicks" is a frustrated and ambitious reporter, looking for redemption and fame. Heading up their partnership in crime detection is a former FBI hopeful and smartest woman in the room who is juggling housewifery, multiple children, a marriage, friendship, and her urge to solve the unsolvable. A great antagonist and complex relationships are part of what makes this follow-up book a worthy read. But even more important for the reader is how these characters continue to grow and change, and become more self-aware. I am looking forward to where the author takes them next.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    Andrea is a suburban mom of five. She has a group of female friends including perfectionist Molly, talkative Crystal, and triplet wrangler Brianne. In The Self-Made Widow, Andrea has a problem. She thinks widowed Molly killed her husband but has no proof or motive. Enter Andrea’s new female friend, the brilliant Sathwika, and old investigative helper, former reporter Kenny. They and a ragtag bunch of others work to uncover the real Molly under her slick facade. I enjoyed everything about this boo Andrea is a suburban mom of five. She has a group of female friends including perfectionist Molly, talkative Crystal, and triplet wrangler Brianne. In The Self-Made Widow, Andrea has a problem. She thinks widowed Molly killed her husband but has no proof or motive. Enter Andrea’s new female friend, the brilliant Sathwika, and old investigative helper, former reporter Kenny. They and a ragtag bunch of others work to uncover the real Molly under her slick facade. I enjoyed everything about this book. From the characters to the plot to the writing style, there is nothing I would change about The Self-Made Widow. And that mobius twist in the middle was amazing! But I can’t describe it because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I also loved the diversity of the characters and the snarky comments by Andrea. I read this book without reading the first book in the series. It is fine as a stand-alone but now I need to read the first one, Suburban Dicks, too. Overall, The Self-Made Widow rates 5 stars and is a favorite! Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Shields

    I didn't realize this was book two in a series until I started reading it, but I quickly found out that any missing background information was provided through enough context that I didn't feel lost. This was a fast-moving, plot driven comedic mystery/thriller centering around mother of five Andie Stern. Molly Goode's husband unexpectedly dies in the opening scenes, and his death is written off as natural causes, but Andie isn't so sure, especially after a journalist friend of hers gets an alarmi I didn't realize this was book two in a series until I started reading it, but I quickly found out that any missing background information was provided through enough context that I didn't feel lost. This was a fast-moving, plot driven comedic mystery/thriller centering around mother of five Andie Stern. Molly Goode's husband unexpectedly dies in the opening scenes, and his death is written off as natural causes, but Andie isn't so sure, especially after a journalist friend of hers gets an alarming phone call. This book had plenty of twists and turns, but all the details easily fell into place to create an enjoyable read. I liked it enough to seek out book one! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this early read. THE SELF-MADE WIDOW will publish June 21, 2022.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Andrea Stern's dysfunctional childhood made her decide to seek truth above all things. So when the husband of one of her friends dies of a chronic heart disease, she's suspicious of his perfectionist wife. And she convinces her one-time colleague, journalist Kenny Lee, to add the investigative know-how of his documentary team. Too bad the truth that Andrea is seeking will make a mess of many lives, including her own. Andrea Stern's dysfunctional childhood made her decide to seek truth above all things. So when the husband of one of her friends dies of a chronic heart disease, she's suspicious of his perfectionist wife. And she convinces her one-time colleague, journalist Kenny Lee, to add the investigative know-how of his documentary team. Too bad the truth that Andrea is seeking will make a mess of many lives, including her own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    6/14/2022 Idk why I'm surprised by the depth of this. Full review tk at CriminalElement.com. 6/14/2022 Idk why I'm surprised by the depth of this. Full review tk at CriminalElement.com.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Libbie Buchele

    better than the first I found Andrea to be fairly whiny in the first book. She seemed completely unaware that she is responsible for her own destiny and unhappiness. I’m glad this novel explorers this a bit more. Fabien Niceza seems to understand perfectly the warring guilt and love that accompanies child rearing. Am I a good parent if I work outside the home? If I resent my kids and don’t find them endlessly fascinating, am I a monster? Get out of my head Fabian!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leighton

    Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! When I saw that the cocreator of Deadpool had a new book coming out, I knew that I had to add it to my TBR list right away! The Self-Made Widow by Fabian Nicieza revolves around Andie, who is a mother and former FBI profiler, and Kenny, a journalist. When the husband of one of Andie's group of mom-friends is found dead, it's up to her Andie and Kenny to solve the case. Did Andie's friend kill her husban Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! When I saw that the cocreator of Deadpool had a new book coming out, I knew that I had to add it to my TBR list right away! The Self-Made Widow by Fabian Nicieza revolves around Andie, who is a mother and former FBI profiler, and Kenny, a journalist. When the husband of one of Andie's group of mom-friends is found dead, it's up to her Andie and Kenny to solve the case. Did Andie's friend kill her husband? Or was it someone else? Here is an interesting excerpt from Chapter 1: "DEREK Goode rarely had pleasant dreams anymore. Between stress at work, stress at home, and stress about stress, he had been very stressed. His partnership track at the firm had been derailed. Even though his side project had generated much more revenue than he’d expected, now he was worried it would all blow up on him. Molly had been mad at him all summer, but he’d been too afraid to ask why. Henry hadn’t made the premier soccer team, and Brett had started to display blatantly effeminate inclinations. For Derek, surprisingly, that had become a source of tremendous pride, though for Molly, unsurprisingly, a source of tremendous anxiety. All things considered, when Derek went to sleep that night, it was understandable that his subconscious would be working overtime. His dream started off in quite a pleasant manner. It was a perfectly crisp summer day. No kids in the house. He wondered if it was even his house, since there were empty glasses left on the kitchen island and one couch pillow seemed slightly askew, which Molly would never allow." Overall, The Self-Made Widow is a comedy-mystery that will have you laughing and serious at different times. One highlight of this book is the humor, which wasn't quite as risque as Deadpool but is still funny. I took off 1 star, because the book read a bit like a movie script. I took off another star, because I didn't connect to any of the characters. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of comedy-mysteries, you can check out this book when it comes out in June!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    I am grateful to the author, Penguin Group Putnam, and NetGalley for access to an advanced digital copy of this novel. This was a tough book after the great fun of “Suburban Dicks” Mr. Nicieza’s debut novel. I lived for several years in West Windsor, NJ and the background was such a hoot. The story line was dark and troubling, but the characters were so unique and quirky and often hilarious. I was a huge fan and anticipated this volume with great glee. Well, if the debut was the first Star Wars mo I am grateful to the author, Penguin Group Putnam, and NetGalley for access to an advanced digital copy of this novel. This was a tough book after the great fun of “Suburban Dicks” Mr. Nicieza’s debut novel. I lived for several years in West Windsor, NJ and the background was such a hoot. The story line was dark and troubling, but the characters were so unique and quirky and often hilarious. I was a huge fan and anticipated this volume with great glee. Well, if the debut was the first Star Wars movie, this installment was The Empire Strikes Back. We go dark and obsessive. Andrea and Kenny are far less sympathetic. The supporting characters are deeply flawed, dishonest and incredibly selfish. Keeping the pace in succeeding books is tough, and this one didn’t grab me around the throat the way the first one did. I wanted to holler at Andie to stop and think about the consequences of her actions on her family and friends. I loved the building of her relationship with Sathwika as they followed the clues. She’s about the only friend she has left. That’s too bad. The murder inquiry isn’t as compelling here, our suspect pretty much taunts the detectives. The complexity is intriguing in parts, and I guess that most of the people just behave in their nature. That includes Jeff as well as Molly. Everyone is bored and unhappy and tired of the ratrace. I was hoping for a happier ending, but I guess this is real life and there aren’t many of those. Hey, maybe Sathwika’s little boy is fine, just enjoying being an infant. I love Ruth in this story, and JoJo is great to watch. Kenny will never ever ever ever grow up. 4 stars wishing it were 5

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    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 o 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! (Review copy courtesy of the publisher and Net Galley)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ranjini Shankar

    This was awesome. Before this I had DNF three books in a row and I was starting to worry that maybe the problem was me not having an attention span. I started this one completely blind (I didn’t realize this was a sequel!) and just could not put it down. It’s funny, gritty, heartfelt, with so much nuance and excellent character development. The plot is tight, the reveals excellent and the pace gallops at the right pace the whole time. The Self-Made Widow follows Andie who had previously made a n This was awesome. Before this I had DNF three books in a row and I was starting to worry that maybe the problem was me not having an attention span. I started this one completely blind (I didn’t realize this was a sequel!) and just could not put it down. It’s funny, gritty, heartfelt, with so much nuance and excellent character development. The plot is tight, the reveals excellent and the pace gallops at the right pace the whole time. The Self-Made Widow follows Andie who had previously made a name for herself as a stay at home mom who is also a savant for solving crime. This time her friend Molly’s husband has died and Andie is convinced there’s something afoot. With very little evidence she and her crew of misfits jump in to prove her instincts are right even if the consequences to her and her family are dire. There is so much grey in this book. There’s really no one you can point to and say they have no flaws or that they are the angel protagonist. Even Andie who you root for the whole time has parts of her that make you flinch. I loved that about this book. Somehow this author has created realistic people with realistic flaws without making them unlikeable. Even more impressive is how even the smallest of side characters (Jojo, Sarah, Aditya!) have such distinct personalities that you remember them after the book is done. There’s nothing by Fabian Nicieza I would not read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The delightful suburban comedy/mystery The Self-Made Widow begins with Part One “Only The Goode Dies Young” in which lawyer Derek Goode, husband and father, dies in his sleep. Did he die of a preexisting heart condition? Or was he helped by his wife, the beautiful, stylishly dressed and compulsively organized Molly whom Derek thinks of as “cold as ice, but hot as hell”? Andrea Stern suspects he was helped. Andrea’s career track as an FBI profiler was derailed by the birth of her oldest daughter. The delightful suburban comedy/mystery The Self-Made Widow begins with Part One “Only The Goode Dies Young” in which lawyer Derek Goode, husband and father, dies in his sleep. Did he die of a preexisting heart condition? Or was he helped by his wife, the beautiful, stylishly dressed and compulsively organized Molly whom Derek thinks of as “cold as ice, but hot as hell”? Andrea Stern suspects he was helped. Andrea’s career track as an FBI profiler was derailed by the birth of her oldest daughter. Now somewhat unhappily married to Jeff and mother to five children under 11, she is both frustrated and bored with life outside of Queens. She turns her laser focus (somewhat limited by child rearing constraints) to what she considers to be a murder. Helped by a reporter for the local weekly, Kenny Lee, whose once high flying newspaper career has crashed and burned, Andrea uncovers a complicated, twisted plot that hits uncomfortably close to home. Fabian Nicieza showcases his skills as a graphic novelist (X-Men) and screenwriter (Deadpool) in The Self-Made Widow. This mystery reads like someone turned a switch on in your head and you see the characters and locations live and in color. Please make this a series! Netflix, are you listening? The Self-Made Widow concludes with so many ideas for the next in the series. And true confession: as as soon as I finished this ARC, I bought Suburban Dicks, the first Andrea Stern mystery. It’s just as good! 5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley, PENGUIN GROUP Putnam and Fabian Nicieza for this ARC.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    When the death of Molly's husband is ruled a heart attack, everyone thinks his heart defect finally caught up with him, but Kenny Lee gets an anonymous call from a woman saying that Molly killed her husband. Kenny Lee's reporter instincts kick in, so he contacts Andrea Stern and discovers that she also suspects her friend of murder. Andie along with Kenny and his team embark on an investigation that reveals multiple secrets being kept by all of Andie's friends that she has dubbed the Cellulitist When the death of Molly's husband is ruled a heart attack, everyone thinks his heart defect finally caught up with him, but Kenny Lee gets an anonymous call from a woman saying that Molly killed her husband. Kenny Lee's reporter instincts kick in, so he contacts Andrea Stern and discovers that she also suspects her friend of murder. Andie along with Kenny and his team embark on an investigation that reveals multiple secrets being kept by all of Andie's friends that she has dubbed the Cellulitists - cellulite + elitists and eventually leads a little too close to home. The Self-Made Widow is another winner in the Suburban Dicks series. Once again, I don't understand why more people aren't talking about another of Fabian Nicieza's books. This twisty procedural is full of secrets and clues that once again attacks the mystery from two different perspectives. As well as a crackerjack plot, everything about suburban life is put under the microscope, adding layers to this humorous and emotional story. Both Andie and Kenny question their own life choices and what their futures might hold, making readers ponder their own choices. Overall, The Self-Made Widow is another exceptional mystery that examines the pros and cons of suburban life. 4 1/2 stars

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dallas Shattuck

    Happy pub week to The Self-Made Widow!! The Self-Made Widow is the follow-up novel to Suburban Dicks (reviewed late last year) and continues following Andie and Ken, as they navigate life, work, parenting, crime, and suburban living. This was an incredible second novel for the series! I was very excited to learn more about Andie and Ken and was not disappointed. I loved how this novel focused on the “how” and “why” of a recent murder, not the “who”. Which is pretty unique for crime fiction. I also Happy pub week to The Self-Made Widow!! The Self-Made Widow is the follow-up novel to Suburban Dicks (reviewed late last year) and continues following Andie and Ken, as they navigate life, work, parenting, crime, and suburban living. This was an incredible second novel for the series! I was very excited to learn more about Andie and Ken and was not disappointed. I loved how this novel focused on the “how” and “why” of a recent murder, not the “who”. Which is pretty unique for crime fiction. I also loved Andie’s ever-growing independence and soul searching; she’s finally realized what she wants and is ready to go over after it! The last line of the book 💯 I also love her parenting style and can totally relate 😅 I enjoyed the humor, irony, and sarcasm sprinkled throughout the novel. The author has an impactful way of weaving satire and social commentary throughout, while also focusing on the main characters solving a murder. I seriously cannot wait to read what happens next in this series! Thank you @putnambooks and @netgalley for the gifted copy!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    A few pages into The Self-Made Widow I realized the mystery was number two of a series and I hadn't read book one. But it was too late. I was already hooked. Molly's husband, Derek, has died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack. Paramedics kneel beside Derek's bed while police officers watch from the bedroom doorway. Women friends are already gathered in the front room to console the new widow and her two young sons. Then Molly's friend, Andrea Stern, blows in with a diaper bag over her shou A few pages into The Self-Made Widow I realized the mystery was number two of a series and I hadn't read book one. But it was too late. I was already hooked. Molly's husband, Derek, has died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack. Paramedics kneel beside Derek's bed while police officers watch from the bedroom doorway. Women friends are already gathered in the front room to console the new widow and her two young sons. Then Molly's friend, Andrea Stern, blows in with a diaper bag over her shoulder and a screaming eleven-month-old baby casually slung over her arm. She barges into the death room, throws quick questions to the paramedics and police, and gets instant answers. No one says a word when she drops the baby down on the bed next to the corpse and deftly changes a stinky diaper. Later, as the body is carried out the front door, Molly quietly begs Andrea to use her influence with the police to convince them there is no need for an autopsy. I wanted to know more about Andrea Stern and find out how she earned such deep respect from the police. So I put down The Self-Made Widow and found a copy of the first book: Suburban Dicks. After I finished that one, I went back to Self-made Widow Enjoyed both books. Quirky characters, humor, plus tension and mystery. Fun to read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leane

    Bravo to Nicieza for creating a sophomore novel in a series that whizzes and sings like the first—something I rarely experience. Like his first, Suburban Dicks, this sequel is a well-constructed procedural that unites both the amateur detective, investigative journalism, and forensics. Continues the flawed and developing CH of Andie, mother of 5 (11 and under), frustrated stay-at-home mother detective and the continuing CH of annoying journalist Kenny Lee, while also fleshing out new CHs and enr Bravo to Nicieza for creating a sophomore novel in a series that whizzes and sings like the first—something I rarely experience. Like his first, Suburban Dicks, this sequel is a well-constructed procedural that unites both the amateur detective, investigative journalism, and forensics. Continues the flawed and developing CH of Andie, mother of 5 (11 and under), frustrated stay-at-home mother detective and the continuing CH of annoying journalist Kenny Lee, while also fleshing out new CHs and enriching our experience and understanding of Andie’s daughter Ruth and her friend, fellow mother, and ally, Sathwike to in more prominent roles in the story. So many of the same elements work here—Setting, Tone, Theme (See review for Suburban Dicks.) but I also enjoyed the plotting in this one since we know from the very beginning there has been a murder but who and why and how is the mission here. I wanted more on Andie’s husband Jeff and the author delivers somewhat, but once again he is very hard to like. Clever, quickly paced, with hilarious moments, and personal growth made this an excellent reading experience. Again, for fans of Carl Hiaasen, Janet Evanovich, and Lisa Lutz.

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