Nickel Plated

By Aric Davis

Place: Publisher & Year: Las Vegas, NV: AmazonEncore, c2010

Genre: Mystery, hard boiled crime fiction, suspense

ISBN: 9781935597322

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 197

Setting: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Nickel is a twelve year old child abuse survivor and foster child escapee.  At the age of ten, he ran away from his foster home and has been living outside the system since then.  He makes his money in a variety of ways, including growing marijuana and blackmailing pedophiles he finds online.  While he worries about his income, he also works for free for kids.  When a beautiful high school student, Arrow, comes to Nickel for help finding her younger sister, Shelby, Nickel can’t say no.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to find Shelby soon.  The longer it takes, the less chance she has of being found alive. Continue reading

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Kafka on the Shore

By Haruki Murakami; translated by Philip Gabriel

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Vintage International, c2005, 2006

Genres: General fiction, magical realism, fantasy

ISBN: 9781400079278

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 464

Setting: Japan – mostly Takamatsu (Shikoku) & Nakano Ward (Tokyo), but also some unspecified mountains

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Two stories converge into one;  the first centers around a fifteen year old boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home and finds refuge in a library.  The second story centers on an aging mentally challenged man, Nakata, who has the ability to talk to cats, but cannot read.  The two characters are drawn to the same place in Japan for reasons which they do not understand.  While they both seek answers to complex questions about themselves, another character who goes by the name of Johnnie Walker, seeks something not entirely of this world. Continue reading