Caffeine & Nicotine

Fiction - Mystery - General
329 Pages
Reviewed on 11/03/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Eric Weule is the author of several novels. He lives in Southern California.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule, twenty-five-year-old Jackie Carmichael is still coming to terms with losing her father suddenly as a child. Little does she know that the man she will accidentally meet would become a significant part of her healing. That man was private investigator Kelly Jenks, who has his own demons to battle. Kelly knows when the young African American boy appears, there will be more visions of torture and death to experience. The boy warns him that a man who lurks in the shadows of Orange County is responsible for the recent attacks on the city's homeless. As he tries to hunt down the attacker, Jackie enters his life once again and hires him to track down a missing employee who was last seen arranging to run an errand for a mysterious contact. Kelly discovers that his ability to travel from this life to the next can help Jackie with her grief. But little does he know that Jackie is conducting her own investigations to find a missing girl, uncovering a dark, dangerous world.

The dark and intriguing backdrop of Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule captivated my interest immediately. Kelly was a complicated character, filled with flaws that made him even more believable and likable. The scene where he served the restraining order relayed so much about his character and view of the world. The chemistry between Jackie and Kelly was evident, two tortured souls who recognize something special in each other. Their relationship developed perfectly as the story progressed. I absolutely loved how information about the characters and the story was revealed gradually. This layered plot was extremely clever. The dialogue flowed so naturally and completely suited the personalities of the characters. There were some clever and humorous comebacks at times, which gave me a break from the suspense. The twists and turns were fantastic; one, in particular, changed the entire direction of the investigation. This is a brilliant tale of suspense, human relationships, and the mysteries of the afterlife.

Jack Magnus

Caffeine & Nicotine is a hard-boiled paranormal detective novel written by Eric Weule. Kelly Jenks was not someone truly bad guys wanted to have any interaction with. His disposal methods were simple and final. When coffee shop owner Jackie Carmichael met him, however, his dark side wasn’t at all an issue. She asked the older, sun-bronzed, blond man sitting on the park bench for a cigarette, an indulgence for someone actively trying to quit the habit. His price was for her to converse with him. The resulting minutes they spent together were both profound and peaceful for her. She wasn’t sure if the man was homeless or not, but she would never have guessed that he would end up being the private investigator she had hired when one of her staff failed to show up at work one morning and seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth.

Eric Weule’s Caffeine & Nicotine is the second book in his Kelly Jenks Series; however, the author included enough background information for me to enjoy it as a standalone story. His main character is fascinating, if occasionally repellent, and he had me applauding his actions even as I cringed a bit. The paranormal aspects of Weule’s story add dimension to his complicated and complex main character, and the dream sequences were memorable and moving. Weule’s characters are finely honed and believable, and his plot is agile and unpredictable. Special kudos go to the author for making Jackie’s Labrador retriever, Booger, come to life so brilliantly. Booger’s instant affinity for Kelly made for some thoughtful reflection on good and evil to be sure, and the music, which runs throughout the story, is superb. Caffeine & Nicotine is most highly recommended.

Lit Amri

"Jonathan never speaks. He is a silent guide. The dream always begins with him sitting in the driver’s seat of the Cougar. He pulled on my hand. The doors slid open. We stepped into the elevator. Five times we stepped out. Five doors swung open. And we bore witness to five more scenes of death and torture. I love seeing that kid, but he always shows me things that I wish I could unsee." In Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule, private investigator Kelly Jenks solves cases and gets retribution for his clients in his own way. When Jackie Carmichael seeks help for her missing employee, Jenks is already on another case involving a sadistic crime. The unconventional P.I. also receives a message through his dream: Jackie has a painful secret.

Set in Orange County, California, Caffeine & Nicotine gives a perspective into the dark side of society. The narrative alternates between Kelly Jenks's first-person POV and third-person POVs of other protagonists with their past gradually revealed to complement the steady pace of the plot. The format serves the contemplative and mystery elements well. A missing young woman is the early point of focus until the web of hidden crimes begins to come to the surface. The story excels at ricocheting between the everyday simple routines and the riveting, grisly moments. Dedicated without being strictly ethical, protagonist Kelly Jenks is the person who society needs to correct the intrinsic balance between good and evil. A brilliant novel by Eric Weule.

Romuald Dzemo

Mystery, crime, and the supernatural are all mixed in Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule, an engaging story with a lot of fun characters and a gripping plot. Meet Kelly, once a bartender who now works as a detective. In the beginning, he is out looking for Oliver to serve him a restraining order because he abuses his girlfriend, a low-class prostitute. Jonathan is a seven-year-old African-American who inhabits Kelly’s dreams, some sort of a silent guide. The dead boy cruises between the world of the living and the dead, and he comes with a message for Kelly: a faceless man preys on the homeless people of the city. Jackie Carmichael hires Kelly to find out what happened to Kelci Graham, one of her employees who has gone missing. But nothing seems to be right as he embarks on the investigation. But Jonathan has another shocking surprise for him: Jackie Carmichael hides a dark secret.

This is a gorgeous novel that is beautifully written and I was pulled in by the first-person narrative voice; it is unique, humorous, and engaging. The narrator is Kelly and his way of saying and describing things is just wonderful. The short chapters, the timely paragraph breaks, and the short sentences add to the beauty of the writing. The drama is strong and it is enriched by the well-crafted dialogues. This book’s greatest strength is in character development; the characters are fleshed out and relatable. The intersection between the world of the living and that of the dead is fantastic and Jonathan becomes a link between the different worlds. Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule is a fast-paced, engrossing read that takes readers through a world filled with crime and danger, especially for the homeless. If you enjoy atmospheric writing, terrific descriptions, and humorous narrative, then this is a great treat for you.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule is a mystery story with a touch of the paranormal, bringing Kelly Jenks back into the fray in a thrilling story. Kelly is hired to find a missing employee, a seemingly straightforward case that should be easy to solve. But Kelly finds that the employee isn’t quite what she seemed to be. Visited by a seven-year-old dead boy with no shoes but clean feet, she is shown a faceless man who is preying on the homeless. Kelly works on solving the mystery of the missing girl and tries to find out who the faceless man is and then the boy, Jonathon, appears with another message. This time, it’s to tell him his employer, Jackie Carmichael, has something to hide. Kelly is off on a brutal, dark journey showing what happens when the dead are allowed to pass sentence.

Caffeine & Nicotine by Eric Weule is a spell-binding, gripping novel that will leave you second-guessing everything you hear or see. It is dark and gritty, a mixture of crime and the supernatural, with several subplots weaving through the main story, all tying in nicely. The opening of this story will grab you and it will stay with you throughout the entire book. The author has a way of writing that draws you in and makes you feel as though you are there in the story and offers plenty of action to keep you interested. The characters are wonderful, really well developed, real people with real problems that you can relate to. It is a bit creepy in places but it’s a story you won't forget for a long time after you finish reading it. I would recommend this to anyone who wants something different, fans of mystery stories and the paranormal all rolled into one.