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Blue Summer is winner of the 2021 Maine Literary Awards Fiction Prize!

"...the main character is tremendously appealing...we loved the way Jim Nichols wrote about music, and about creating music..." Judges, Maine Literary Awards
"Blue Summer offers no simple path to redemption, no easy walk to healing, but chronicles instead the flawed and broken gestures that we all make to honor the memory of the ones who continue to haunt us. With prose that can be both restrained and luminous, careful and lyrical, Nichols has composed here a story that is full of difficult truth and complex - and very often beautiful - Music." Jaed Coffin, author of Roughouse Friday
"In Cal Shaw, Nichols gives the reader a man humbled by experience who now looks back, accompanied by a melody — a melody that brought him back from the brink and is the same melody that will forever be his companion, bringing him memories of his youth, loss and love. It's an exceptional beginning and an exceptional book. Using a first-person perspective, Nichols lets Shaw tell us his story and provides us with not only a narrator but also a friend, a childhood buddy and a taxi-driving, recovering-alcoholic, cornet playing jazz musician to engage with in the process. Cal Shaw is all of that and much more, and Nichols expertly builds upon that throughout the story, adding layers to this man, some predictable and some very surprising." Rick Heller, The Quoddy Times
"Blue Summer is an effortless read, but that doesn't mean it is without deeper meaning, symbolism and moments of delicate thoughts." James M. Fisher, the Miramichi Reader
'The novel itself is crafted much like a blues piece – loose, tantalizing, taking readers in new directions, always turning back on itself. The author's process of getting the story down is much like Cal's working to capture a teasing and elusive musical mood. Nichols lets the story build slowly, as if it is carrying him where it wants to go. There are quarter notes and half notes scattered early that give the reader the thinnest glimpses of the tragedy of Cal's life. It isn't until the end, however, that the full tragedy is revealed. Blue Summer is Nichols's best yet." Frank O. Smith, Portland Sunday  Telegram

Norman Mailer: "I think that in Jim Nichols we have one more of a rare breed..."

Praise for Closer All The Time, 2016 Maine Book Award for Fiction winner:

"Jim Nichols Makes me happy...Closer All The Time is a novel built of stories, and a story built of sentences so beautiful I want to keep them like wild honey in a jar."
- Bill Roorbach (Life Among Giants, Remedy For Love)

"Nichols is one of my favorite writers, not just because he writes with such - dare I say - feminine insight about men's men...His men and boys become so real, I feel as if I know what it might have been like to grow up with brothers."
- Monica Wood (The One In A Million Boy, When We Were Kennedys)

"These intertwined narratives creaste a memorable novel that vividly renders a town and its denizens. Jim Nichols never condescends to his characters. Though readers might question their choices in life, we never doubt their humanity."
- Ron Rash (Serena, Nothing Gold Can Stay)

"...No one paints a more vivid portrait of coastal Maine towns and their native sons and daughters - the clammers and bartenders, diner waitresses and business owners - than Nichols. With his latest work, Closer All the Time, this regional writer should receive recognition beyond the borders of his natal state, so others might appreciate his rich narratives, rolled out in his plain yet penetrating writing style..."
- Georgeanne Davis, The Free Press

"Any discussion of candidates for the title ‘Fiction Laureate of Maine’ will quickly conjure names of the usual subjects: Stephen King, Elizabeth Strout, Carolyn Chute and Rick Russo spring to mind and all of them have carved out a unique niche in the Maine literary landscape. But for my money, when it comes to capturing the ethos of the people and culture of the Pine Tree State, perhaps no one does it better than Jim Nichols..."
- Bill Lundgren, Lundgren's Lounge

"In a style reminiscent of Hemingway, Nichols's spare, plainspoken prose buzzes with emotional grit and tenderness, bringing dignity and vulnerability to alcoholics, poachers and bullies. Damn beautiful!"
- Susan Henderson (Up From The Blue)