Never Look Down: A Cal Claxton Mystery by Warren C. Easley (Poisoned Pen Press, $15.95, 312 pages)
Fans of Portland, Oregon will be delighted with author Warren Easley’s series set in and around the city. Never Look Down is the third in the series (Dead Float, Matters of Doubt) featuring Cal Claxton. Claxton is an attorney who balances his boutique winery clients in the country with his pro bono work in Old Town Portland for folks of all ages and persuasions that are down and out.
Easley has a smooth, natural writing style that works well in both the chapters narrated in the first person by Claxton and the third person narrative chapters – from the perspective of a teenage orphan whose street smarts are both instinctual and learned. The counterpoint to Claxton’s adult measured approach to life is Kelly Spence, whose father died in a mountain climbing accident leaving her to fend for herself along with her dad’s girlfriend Veronica.
The urgency created by a murder witnessed by Kelly brings the two together. Claxton’s best buddy, Hernando Mendoza, was collateral damage from the murder in that the woman he was going to marry was the victim. Kelly is a tagger whose work is anonymous and yet noted by the establishment in downtown Portland. Her anonymity is in jeopardy as she bounces around the city running from the murderers.
Anything beyond these storyline basics will give away too much of a well-crafted plot. To Easley’s credit, the story has an even balance of both Claxton’s and Kelly’s perspectives on life and living.
A review copy was received from the publisher.
Not Dead Enough, the fourth book in the Cal Claxton Oregon Mystery series will be released by Poisoned Pen Press on June 7, 2016.