Never Look Down: A Cal Claxton Oregon Mystery
Warren C. Easley
Poisoned Pen, Sep 1 2015, $26.95
Former Los Angeles prosecutor Cal Claxton enjoys his pro bono work offering legal aid out of his Old Town office to Portland, Oregon’s poorest. Someone shoots and murders Claudia Borrego, the fiancée of Cal’s landlord, Hernando “Nando” Mendoza in the early predawn hours. High school student and spray paint tagger Kelly “K209” Spence witnesses the homicide from her perch four stories above the crime scene. Noticing Kelly high above, the killer fires at her, but she escapes.
Realizing a graffiti artist probably saw the homicide; the cops, feeling for his grieving friend Nando Cal, and a bloody predator search for K209. Trusting no one especially after the person she turned to is mutilated; staying above the fray Kelly eludes the police, the lawyer and the psychopath until desperate she turns to the least likely to betray her: Cal.
The third Cal Claxton Oregon mystery (see Dead Float) returns the hero to Portland’s street artist world (see Matters of Doubt) in which another young tagger (to the delight of the audience) affirms WC Fields’ mantra: "Never work with animals or children" as they own the story. Fast-paced with twin senses of pending doom and deadly confrontation, readers will adore spunky Kelly as she deploys her mountain-climbing skills in an urban jungle to stay alive.