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Nickel Plated Paperback – March 22, 2011
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When a beautiful girl named Arrow hires him to find her little sister Shelby, Nickel figures at best the kid’s a runaway; at worst, some perv’s gotten a hold of her. He scours the internet and the streets of Arrow’s suburban neighborhood, and what he finds there is as ugly a truth as he’s ever seen. For beyond the manicured lawns, Nickel discovers children for sale, and adults with souls black as the devil. And people like that aren’t about to let some kid ruin their game. This edgy thriller introduces a canny, precocious anti-hero, the likes of which young-adult readers have never seen.
Amazon Exclusive: Gillian Flynn Reviews Nickel Plated
Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, Sharp Objects, was an Edgar Award finalist. Her second novel, Dark Places, was named one of the Best Books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly--and her latest, Gone Girl, is a smash hit and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Read Flynn's exclusive guest review of Aric Davis's Nickel Plated:
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
The Author Behind Nickel Plated: Aric Davis
Question: Nickel is a totally unique character. A kind of anti-hero. How did you create him? Are there any experiences from your life that inspired his character?
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nickel might be a kid, but he isn't innocent. That was taken away from him thanks to a set of horribly abusive foster parents that he only just managed to get away from. Ever since then he's lived on his own, living by the lessons his dad taught him just before he was gone. Nickel makes his living selling weed, blackmailing perverts, & doing a little investigative work. He never charges the kids, especially when they're someone like Arrow- a beautiful girl who is looking desperately for her missing little sister. She doesn't know if he sister ran away or if she was abducted, all Arrow knows is that if she wants her sister found then Nickel is the best guy for the job. And Nickel is very, very good at what he does, which is a good thing because every minute that goes by makes it that much harder for a missing kid to be found.
I really enjoyed reading this. It might have had some pretty adult subject matter but it proved to be a nice easy read that I was able to finish after only a day. It was fun reading about Nickel's abilities, although I will admit at times I kind of felt like he seemed to be just a little too good at these things for how young he was. Davis does explain Nickel's prowess later on in the book but I just would have liked to see a little more description about his learning process when it came to his skills. This wasn't enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book, however.Read more ›
Don't think that just because most of the main characters in this novel are young that it's a kids book...the adult content took me by surprise.
And he's all of twelve years old.
The writing was absolutely superb, but I had a real hard time accepting that a twelve-year-old could talk, think, and act like this character. "The mysteries of adults stretched far out of my realm of understanding," he says, in verbiage that seems like it would also be beyond his reach. Here's another example, a line I like a lot, but can't believe it comes from a 12-year-old: "There were dead prostitutes turning up like old relatives at Christmas dinner."
Other than that, the story flows well and it's a good read, so if you think you can look past a main character who's a child written as an adult, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book.
The money he took from his foster parents' 'business' started Nickel on his own enterprises. He's a farmer, selling marijuana to the local high school kids. He's also a private investigator. And he blackmails pedophiles for spare change.
His current cases: a young man who's suddenly changed and a missing ten year old girl, whose fourteen year old sister hires him to rescue. That case is going to drop both of them into the ugly underside of a business we all wish never existed.
The book's 200 pages and I'd suggest giving yourself a few hours when you sit down because you're not going to want to put it down. You may not always agree with what Nickel does, but in the end, you realize he's one of the most interesting young anti-heroes in literature today.
This is definitely a book for older teens. I think it'd be a great read for young male reluctant readers. While there's no sex or bad language here, the situations are sometimes tense and may be more than a younger kid can handle.
Rebecca Kyle, March 2011
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I do hope I will be able to continue to read more about Nickel. This is a wonderful story. Please create more NICKEL PLATED books!!Published 28 days ago by Kindle Customer
Weirdly and very cleverly written. Best I've read this past year.Published 29 days ago by CHARLES SELF
Was going to stop after the first few pages. The subject matter was scaring me off and this was supposed to be a book for teens! Then I realized the author was good, really good. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Suzanne Dobyns
really enjoyed reading this book and plan on reading more as long as nickel is part of it.Published 2 months ago by RL
Picked this up on a lark. Once I did though, it was a page turning fast paced ride. Very well done IMO. Thank you Mr. Davis for introducing us to Nickel.Published 2 months ago by Alex
I really enjoyed this book! Nickel kept me interested the entire time and left me guessing what his next step might be. Great read!!Published 3 months ago by Iowa Reader
I really, really liked this book! It reminded me of Dean Koontzs' Odd Thomas.This kid is quirky, a loner, with has a troubled past that is making life miserable for the bad guys. Read morePublished 4 months ago by squishy
I would love to read a book about Nickel in the future. I could see him being a spy or something and I would love to see where he ends up. 😊👍🏻Published 6 months ago by Becca