Jim Nisbet. Dark Companion (2006) 144 pp.
In Walnut Creek, Banerjhee Rolf, an unemployed chemist (recently laid off from his job at a pharmaceutical company) and amateur astronomer, is passing his days catching up on his reading, tending to his backyard garden, and trying to avoid tedious over-the-fence conversations with his next-door neighbor, Toby Pride, a dope-dealing slacker with a fondness for playing Lotto. Banerjhee can’t wait until the bamboo he planted along the fence grows tall enough to restore his peace and quiet. Unfortunately, his peace and quiet is disturbed forever on the night his wife leaves for a two-week trip to Chicago when he gets drawn into an apparent domestic dispute between Toby and his girlfriend, Esme. Inside Pride’s house, Banerjhee learns Toby’s and Esme’s secrets, secrets that leave several people dead and send Banerjhee on the run to Las Vegas, driving Pride’s black BMW with $45,000 in cash and a double-barreled derringer in his pockets.
Setting: Walnut Creek; Las Vegas