Set on the beaches and back alleys of Los Angeles, The Prince of Venice Beach is the tale of a homeless runaway who lives an easy life off the grid—until his only means of income turns morally complex.

Seventeen-year-old Robert “Cali” Callahan ran away from an endless cycle of foster homes when he turned 14. Over the years, he has remained under the radar while learning about the people, locales and vibes of Venice Beach, as well as offering his help to anyone who needs it. So when a private investigator shows up at his regular pickup basketball game, Cali plays it cool enough to land a well-paying gig helping the PI find another runaway in the area. Cali goes on to get two more PI jobs, but he ends up falling for the subject of his third search—the mysterious, elusive Reese Abernathy. Cali wants to help Reese, but with rumors swirling about her mental instability and the true cause of her mother’s death, he faces tough decisions in the face of ethical ambiguity.

The Prince of Venice Beach reveals the savagery and humanity of life on the streets, and provides insights into homelessness that few are able to capture.


This article was originally published in the June 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Justin Barisich is a freelancer, satirist, poet and performer living in Atlanta. More of his writing can be found at

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