We’re about to kick City of the Plague God preparations into high gear, and what better way to do it than with an excerpt? Based on these first two chapters, we’re already rooting for Sarwat Chadda’s good guy, Sikander. Join us!
“GIVE ME A HAND WITH THIS SHUTTER, DAOUD?” I asked, and not for the first time that night.
Daoud raised his finger as he continued his phone conversation. “You’re kidding. From Hollywood? What time?” He checked his watch. “Cool. I’ll be there.”
“At last.” I sighed as he put the phone away. It was creeping toward midnight, and we should have locked up the deli an hour ago. I tugged at the unyielding roll-down security shutter.
Daoud flexed his biceps. “You need some real muscle behind this.” He grabbed the other handle. “On three . . .” I tightened my grip. “One . . .”
The slatted steel grille rattled down thunderously and slammed on the sidewalk. Daoud snapped on the padlock. “Yallah, cuz. I’ve got places to be.”
Cuz? Daoud acted like he was one of the family, but he was just a guy my brother had brought home when they’d met in fifth grade, a decade ago. I’d never understood why Mo had liked him so much. Maybe it was because there weren’t many other Iraqi kids at school. Since then, Daoud had hardly been out of my life, but he was still no “cuz.”