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The Prince of Venice Beachby Blake Nelson
Cali is enjoying being hired to find people on the streets of Venice Beach, until he meets a young woman who causes him to question the morality of finding people who don't want to be found. This is an exciting mystery, perfect for your summer reading list.
Synopses & Reviews
Robert "Cali" Callahan is a teen runaway, living on the streets of Venice Beach, California. He's got a pretty sweet life: a treehouse to sleep in, a gang of surf bros, a regular basketball game... even a girl who's maybe-sorta interested in him.
What he doesn't have is a plan.
All that changes when a local cop refers Cali to a private investigator who is looking for a missing teenager. After all, Cali knows everyone in Venice. But the streets are filled with people who don't want to be found, and when he's hired to find the beautiful Reese Abernathy, who would do anything to stay hidden, Cali must decide where his loyalties truly lie.
"Nelson (Recovery Road) combines a hardboiled first-person narrative and a languid Southern California setting to establish a seductive surf noir atmosphere in the story of Robert 'Cali' Callahan, a 17-year-old runaway who's testing out a potential career as a private investigator on the streets of Venice Beach. Cali's doing pretty well for himself: he has a rent-free treehouse to sleep in, is generally well-liked by the other denizens of the boardwalk, and can hold his own on Venice's infamous streetball courts. When Cali starts getting quiet offers to track down persons of interest (a runaway kid here, a transient there), he's thrilled by his early successes, but learns that not knowing where the money is coming from puts him on ethically murky ground. Cali is smart, perceptive, and fairly aware of his own shortcomings, and his strong desire to help drives this moody, fast-moving novel. Although secondary characters (especially the women in Cali's life) aren't quite as fully developed as he is, Cali's romantic entanglements only add to his confusion over how to do the right thing. Ages 12 up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Nelson's spare style and nuanced portrayal of street kids is strongly reminiscent of the classic work of S.E. Hinton. The gritty beach setting, compelling cast of sensitively drawn secondary characters and spot-on dialogue elevate the story beyond that of a typical genre mystery. [R]eaders can only hope that a new teenage private detective series is in the works." Kirkus
"Readers will anxiously follow Robert's...journey of growth in this coming-of-age novel filled with exhilarating chases and heart pounding moments." School Library Journal
"Nelson vividly captures the energy of the beach community, both in his depiction of the physical setting and his creation of the eclectic cast of characters that populates it." The Horn Book
About the Author
Blake Nelson is the author of many acclaimed novels, including Recovery Road, Destroy All Cars, and Paranoid Park, which was made into a feature film by Gus van Sant. His classic 1994 debut novel Girl was called a "seminal coming-of-age text" by Vanity Fair. He lives in Los Angeles, California, and you can visit him on the web at www.blakenelsonbooks.com.
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