The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson
Robert “Cali” Callahan is a juvenile that fled Nebraska to Venice Beach. His father disappeared and his mother was killed in an accident. He’s been in and out of the system and finally had enough and left.
Life, today, is pretty carefree for Cali. He lives in a tree house and plays basketball, surfs, and rides his skateboard on most given days. One day, he is approached by a man who is looking for boy that has runaway.
The man, a private investigator, was referred to Cali by Darius Howard, a cop who had busted Cali when he first came to California but let him walk. Cali had helped Darius, since then, on a case of a local kid stealing bikes.
By word of mouth, others approach Cali to assist in finding people. Along the way, we meet various characters in the book: Ailis, Cali’s nerdy friend; Jax, Diego, and Jojo, boys that Cali hangs out with; Strawberry, a homeless girl that has a few screws loose; Reese, one of Cali’s cases and love interest.
Cali is a good kid with honed intuition, a warm heart, and a conscious. Throughout the book he is faced with very intense moments and you can’t help but hope things turn out well for him.
I have to say that I was surprised by the ending but highly recommend this title. It’s a good, quick read, with great characters. I hope that there are more books with Cali, as he is a character I would like to follow and see grow.
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