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Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: Nickel Plated

Nickel Plated comes from the Amazon Encore Imprint of books. Judging by the quality (and price) of the book, traditional dead tree publishers have a lot to fear from Amazon Encore, if this is the type of author they've been passing on and this is the type of book that's the future of independent publishing.

Nickel is an all-round fixer. He charges people who can afford it $100/day to fix their problems. People can't afford it get the job done for free. Obviously, this can't possibly pay the bills, so he runs a business on the side selling weed that he grows in his backyard. Sounds like a typical action-hero thriller? Oh yeah, Nickel is 12 years old.

Not only is he a 12 year old, he's the one that you wished you were when you were 12. He lives alone, pays his own bills, run his own life, never has to go to school, and beats up bullies who tries to bully him. He's almost too perfect. The main plot around the novel starts when Nickel is approached by Arrow, whose sister has gone missing and whose dad becomes the prime suspect for the disappearance. Nickel investigates, while his life is complicated by a mom who is worried about her son's night life, his drug business, and the general problem of being 12 years old trying to get by.

The plot and story sounds outrageous, and it is, but Davis makes it all work, and work well. Nickel pretty much has to either take a cab or ride his bike everywhere, and he does. He talks about how he has to go grocery shopping and treat every trip as though he's running errands for his parents, and how to construct fake Facebook identities. He points out that in the modern suburban environment, most people don't even notice their neighbors, so never see that there's no one home next door but there's a 12 year old living there.

I hate to say it, but this is a novel that definitely demands a sequel, simply because the character is so compelling and has a great backstory that I would love to learn more about, and I will look for more books by Aric Davis in the future. Highly recommended.

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