Nick Kepler

Created by James R. Winter

At first glance, NICK KEPLER seems like a regular guy. A Cleveland-based private eye, he has a love of the blues, a hatred for abusers and bigots, and a willingness to put his life and his freedom on the line for a friend or a client. Kepler works the North Coast, and plays in a blues band on the side. His lady love, Margo, a beautiful, ebony skinned, reporter for a Cleveland TV station, understands and supports her man and lets him live his life as freely as she lives hers. Nick's leading a full life, surrounded by his friends.

But when Margo takes a job in Boston, Kepler's personal life begins to slowly crumble. Faced with more confusing cases set throughout Ohio, Kepler begins to separate himself from his other friends. As the cases become more personal, and ultimately more tragic, we're left with a solitary Kepler trying to keep himself afloat and continue to walk the mean streets with a purpose.

By the time he makes it to his first novel, Northcoast Shakedown (2005), life's looking up for Nick -- he's scoring free office space, secretarial help, and plenty of work from his former employers at an insurance company.  And then a manager gives him a couple of referrals, a couple of slam dunks that turn out to be anything but. 

Jim Winter has created a complex character always in a state of flux, always interesting, and always exciting. As the series grows, so does Kepler, and so does Winter as a writer.

And for such a hard luck hero, Nick has had remarkable staying power. His latest, Gypsy's Kiss (2015), has recently been released.


  • "An added bonus is the self-deprecating civic pride author Winter brings to this fast, hard and deliriously plotted tale, and the no-nonsense first-person narrative voice of its appealingly down-to-earth protagonist... with his no muss, no fuss blue-collar prose and white-knuckled narrative drive, Winter manages something that other, allegedly more accomplished stylists often fail to do: he gets the job done. Somebody give this guy a raise."

-- Kevin Burton Smith, Rap Sheet review of Northcoast Shakedown





Jim's blog.

Jim Winter's new site features links to his Nick Kepler P.I. stories, plus all the reviews he's published so far, as well as an on-line journal while he works on his first novel.

Original report respectfully submitted by J. Michael Blue, updated by David White, and featuring some additional info (aka "incessant nitpicking") from Kevin Burton Smith.

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