Nickel Plated by Aric Davis
Published by AmazonEncore
Review copy provided by the publicist

For as long as twelve-year-old Nickel can remember, he’s been in and out of foster care, losing his new “families” before he can even get to know them. One man Nickel was lucky enough to live with for a few years taught him survival skills and much more, and now Nickel is on his own, living as an adult, making money and paying his own bills in creative ways. He makes his living selling marijuana, catching pedophiles and blackmailing them for his silence, and working as a private investigator. When he meets a beautiful girl named Arrow who hires him to find her missing younger sister Shelby, Nickel discovers the toughest and scariest case he’s been involved in.

Nickel Plated is an extremely quirky, unexpectedly engaging novel. From the first page, I was enamored with Nickel and, while the premise of the book is somewhat difficult to believe, I was able to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the ride.

I have to say that Nickel is one of the most endearing and compelling characters I’ve come across in a while. He is incredibly intelligent and advanced for his age, and while I have trouble buying the premise that a twelve-year-old could actually live the way he does, it was great getting to know and love Nickel while reading the novel. I loved learning how he was able to survive in this world as a young kid playing the part of a grown-up, and I have to admit that he was pretty crafty as he figured out how to do adult things in a child’s body.

The mystery of what happened to Shelby was executed very well. Obviously the reader knows from the start that something sinister is surrounding her disappearance, but it is only at the very end of the book that the true extent of it is revealed. While the truth is disturbing and difficult to read, Davis took a true thing that happens in the world and made it a central part of this mystery. He didn’t handle it lightly, but at the same time it didn’t feel heavy or depressing either.

The only criticism I can muster for Nickel Plated is that I think Davis could have taken it a bit further. He could have gone deeper into Nickel’s feelings, deeper into Nickel’s past, and helped the reader get to know Arrow even better too. The book is pretty short and more character development would have made it a bit longer but also enhanced the overall novel quite a bit. That being said, I really did enjoy the book and would be up for reading more about Nickel if another book was published.