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Every so often you come across a book with a voice like a blast of pure oxygen. Aric Davis has that kind of voice: crackling, assured, energized. With Nickel Plated, he introduces an utterly unique character: 12-year-old Nickel, a former abused foster child, current runaway, and future force to be reckoned with (not that he isn’t already) with a keen brain, sharp sense of humor and hard-boiled self-awareness. Sworn never to return to foster care, Nickel supports himself by dealing pot, blackmailing online pedophiles, and taking on PI jobs, particularly anything involving a child in need. When pretty Arrow asks him to find her missing little sister, Nickel’s investigation uncovers a nasty corner of the suburbs involved in child trafficking. This is a dark but humane, chilling and sometimes heart-breaking work of noir, a reminder that children are vulnerable but also resilient, tough and resourceful. Davis takes on some very mature themes but never loses sight of the damaged but determined heart in his young narrator. Here is a character who demands a series, from a writer who will shake you wide awake. --Gillian Flynn
Aric Davis: Nickel came from a really dark time in my life. It sounds ridiculous in retrospect, but before I worked on Nickel Plated, I invested myself in a different novel completely, and after it was resoundingly rejected for publication, I thought I was done writing. I really felt like I'd wrung myself dry. About two months later, which was my longest dry spell without writing in years, three members of my wife's extended family were murdered by a drunk driver while they were walking on a deserted country road. In addition, a number of other family members and friends were hospitalized. I wanted to kill the driver, and of course, that's not a rational way of thinking. But I could make a character that could hurt bad people...
Question: Let's be honest. Nickel Plated is an edgy book. And you look edgy. Your job as a piercing artist even sounds edgy. But for all this "edginess," Nickel is actually very tenderhearted. How did you find the right mix of dark and sweet for this novel?
Aric Davis: I wanted an emotional character because most protagonists in this style of adult novel-like Richard Stark's infamous Parker-are so cold all the time. The emotions running through Nickel have a lot to do with his age, his lack of a family and the terrible things that he's seen and had done to him. I don't know that a boy his age could be cold and calculating all the time without coming off like a sociopath. As for the edgy side of Nickel, I think that just came about naturally. When you're working on a novel in the back of a tattoo shop, and have to take breaks to hurt people before you can get back to writing, you're going to get some blood on the keyboard.
Question: What made you decide to write a novel for teens? Did you always think you would be a YA writer?
Aric Davis: Because my mom told me to. Seriously, my mother's favorite unpublished manuscript of mine was the only other YA piece that I've written, and she's been bugging me for years to write another one. When I finally accepted the idea, I tried to remember what I liked best about reading at that age, and I was a Stephen King fiend. It was those memories that made me want to write a novel that wouldn't talk down to teenagers, certainly they can't all live fairy tale lives, right?
Question: You are a roller-coaster aficionado. What do you love about roller coasters? And, if you could only go on one more roller coaster ride for the rest of your life, which roller coaster would you ride?
Aric Davis: I love nearly everything about roller coasters. From the architecture, to watching my daughter share my passion, to just the pure bliss of riding, it's a love affair that I've been carrying on since I was very young. My favorite coaster right now is Maverick at Cedar Point. As far as I'm concerned, it can do no wrong, but I gleefully anticipate finding a ride that I enjoy even more, hopefully as soon as next spring.
I really enjoyed Nickel Plated's interesting characters, fast pacing and suspenseful plot line.
I love the realistic edge this book has, the way that the reader can just feel Nickel for everything he has.
The characters are well written, the story moves at a good pace, and I had a hard time putting it down.
Nickel is a great character, and I got hooked into his story. I'm going to look for another of his adventures right now.Published 5 hours ago by Amazon Customer
this would make a great movie or cable series. inventive idea with a touch of revenge and nickel has a sweetness to him that I loved.Published 6 hours ago by Danielle
I really enjoyed the book. I love NICKEL and how he helps so many kids.He truly is a little hero. I only wish it was longer hated for it to end.Published 1 day ago by JILL RAY
...and the climax had my heart racing!
On a side note, I had grammar pounded into me as a child (I'm 47 now) & it scarred me for life. Read more
To the many great reviews, I'd only add this: what's not to love about a kid named Nickel and a girl named Arrow? Read morePublished 3 days ago by James B. Johnson
I can't imagine reading this if one of my own was missing. however it gives me hope that superheroes are around as well as wannabes. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Julie in Michigan
This was a fun read and even more fun during a long road trip, on audio.Published 9 days ago by Renee
Never thought that I would enjoy reading a novel about a 12 year detective, but I have to say, this was a great read. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Rick Beissner
The idea of a world-weary hard-nosed 12 year old detective is funny at first but by the end you believe it. That, by itself is quite an accomplishment. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Mike Slaughter