Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: Dead Float: A Cal Claxton Mystery (Cal Claxton #2) by Warren C. Easley

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 429 KB
  • Print Length: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (July 1 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00LA5XAQ0

Book Description

If you are a fly fisherman, it doesn’t get any better than the salmon fly hatch on the Deschutes River, Oregon’s legendary trout fishing venue.  Cal Claxton–a small town lawyer who works to fish–has to pinch himself when his best friend and fishing guide, Philip Lone Deer, asks him to help guide an upcoming trip with a group of executives from a high-tech firm in Portland.

But the trip through the remote Deschutes River Canyon turns ugly when a member of the fishing party is murdered.  Everyone in the party is a suspect, including Cal himself.  Does the fact that the company’s value is about to explode play into the crime?  And what about the freight line running along the river?  All Cal knows is that he better come up with answers because he’s suspect number one….

About the Author

My love affair with the mystery genre started with Ian Fleming’s James Bond gems when I was in graduate school at Berkeley.  The paperbacks were easily concealed, and I was usually packing one in those days.  In the eighties, I lived in the espionage capital of Europe–Geneva–so naturally I turned to the spy thrillers of Greene, le Carre, Travanian, and Furst.  When I repatriated, I was thirsty for American novels.  I lived Mosley’s and Connelly’s L.A., Paretski’s Chicago, Hillerman’s Four Corners and Burke’s gulf coast.  Now my reading time has heavy competition from my writing, but I love the Northwest mystery writers like Crumley, Ford, and Margolin. Clearly, the Northwest’s unique blend of eye-popping natural beauty, optimistic, resilient people, dark  winters and crazy beautiful summers has inspired some great crime fiction.

I started writing my own mysteries five years ago.  I moved to Oregon intent on reinventing myself, so it was only natural that I had my protagonist, Calvin Claxton III, do the same, although I moved from the deep south and Cal from Los Angeles.  However, Cal’s motives were born of tragedy–the suicide of his wife.  A workaholic prosecutor for the city of L.A., Cal underestimated the depth of his wife’s depression and missed the danger signals.  So as a guilt ridden, shattered man, he moves to the small town of Dundee, Oregon, in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, starts a one man law practice and buys an old farmhouse up in the Dundee Hills he calls his Aerie.  He has a daughter in grad school at Berkeley, and his only companion is Archie, a precocious Australian shepherd.  Cal’s a lonely man who takes solace in the ever changing natural beauty of his surroundings and the meditative relief he finds in fly fishing.    

Struggling to regain an emotional foothold, Cal develops a reputation as a man who will fight for his clients, even if they lack financial resources.  He’ll take on cases no one else will touch, and  go the extra mile to get at the truth no matter what the cost.  The cases often put him at odds with the code of his profession and in incredible danger.  In this way, Cal begins to find meaning in his life and maybe even a shot at redemption.      

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My Review

This is the second Cal Claxton Oregonian Mystery in the series. The first book was titled Matters of Doubt. It is obvious that author Warren Easley loves the beautiful state of Oregon and loves fly fishing. The main story focuses on these aspects and that is where Easley's strengths lie. The Northwest is my home and I love to see that it is realistically portrayed.

Fishing guide Philip Lone Deer has asked his friend, Cal Claxton, who is a former prosecutor but now a small town lawyer to accompany him on a trip to the Deschutes River with some clients from Portland, Oregon. (Cannot read Deschutes without thinking about the Deschutes Brewery but I digress). While on the trip, CEO Hal Bruckner is murdered. Can Cal solve this case in which he is a suspect ... will his past history with Alexis Bruckner fog his powers of deduction. Lots of twists and turns and everyone is a suspect.

Good series. Always like stories about the Northwest. Good mystery!

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