Nickel is a survivor. He has to be. For as long as he can remember, his life has hinged on the flip of a coin. Or, rather, the scribble of a social worker’s pen. He’s been through the system, even had a good dad for a few years, until he was gone, too. But Nickel remembers everything he taught him, and since the day he escaped from foster-care hell, he’s put that knowledge to good use. Just twelve years old, he makes a steady living by selling marijuana to high schoolers, blackmailing pedophiles he ferrets out online, and working as a private investigator. 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 antihero, the likes of which young-adult readers have never seen.
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Aric Davis is the author of several thrillers, mysteries, and horror novels, including From Ashes Rise, A Good and Useful Hurt, Dead Man 14, The Black Plague, and Nickel Plated, which the American Library Association placed on its Top 10 list of best mysteries for youths in 2011. He lives with his wife and daughter in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has worked as a body piercer for sixteen years.
Nick Podehl is a professional voice actor. He has narrated numerous audio books, many of which have won prestigious awards. He is currently seeking to bolster his experience by recording voice overs in video games, movies, commercials, and alternative media while continuing to narrate audio books.
He is very passionate about and committed to his work, and truly finds joy in his work.
Nick graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Communication and a minor in Theatre.
He currently lives and works around Grand Rapids, Michigan with his beautiful wife Erin and their cat Dreams.From Booklist:
Nickel is a 12-year-old abuse survivor living all alone in suburban Michigan. He sells marijuana and blackmails Internet pedophiles in order to fund his real profession: clandestine detective, complete with night-vision goggles, camouflage jumpsuits, a getaway bicycle, and some not-bad jujitsu skills. Most pressing among his current caseload is the pro bono mystery of an abducted little girl. She’s probably dead, but Nickel is determined to find out who did it anyway--and it doesn’t hurt that his client, the girl’s older sister, is one heck of a dame (“It was awful to see her go but nice to watch her leave”). Writing with a deaf ear to what’s fashionable in YA, Davis’ terseness initially comes off like hardboiled spoof and risks alienating readers with its steadfastly unemotional tone. Almost slyly, though, Nickel’s one-note voice becomes affecting; read between the lines and you’ll find a damaged kid whose defense mechanism is to be a crime-fighting robot. As dark as they get, Nickel’s travails are often laugh-out-loud funny: he’s got his plan, and he’s sticking to it. Readers will, too, right through the pulse-pounding climax and the crushingly offhand sadness of the denouement. Davis hits hard--but with a surprisingly light touch. --Daniel Kraus, starred review
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