“No Way to Die” by Warren Easley is book seven in the Cal Claxton series. New readers quickly learn any needed backstory, and regular readers find out what Cal, his daughter, and his Australian shepherd are up to on their vacation on the Oregon coast. It is set in a small resort town where everyone knows everyone else; everyone has secrets, and unexpected things keep popping up. So, when a dead man is found in the water; the immediate thought is that probably someone he knew did it.
Warren structures Claxton’s narrative to give readers a global look at the events in a casual conversational style, as if talking to close friends. He speaks directly to readers, “if memory serves;” reflects on actions, “Didn’t see that coming; and hints at things to come “I had questions. Lots of questions.”
Vivid descriptions and bring the setting to life for readers “As the sun descended that evening the wind died, and the ocean glassed off to a pane of deepest blue. The fog bank that loitered offshore for the past couple of nights had finally burned off, and we were treated to a sunset whose colors morphed from shimmering gold, to rose, to violet, before dying in a shroud of deep purple.”
The plot is well structured and moves at an appropriate pace with ample action, suspense, a gun fight or two, and unsolved deaths. In the end, when all the pieces fall into place, the conclusion surprises everyone, even Cal; “I misread her completely…Why the hell didn’t I see that?”
I was given a review copy of “No Way to Die” by Warren Easley and Poisoned Pen Press. It is easy to read, and has not only suspense but also friendship and family devotion. The plot is innovative with new complications rather than a rehash of previous books. Regular readers will love this fresh look at Claxton, and new readers will be intrigued by the original plot and picturesque setting. Moreover, it features an indie bookstore, always a plus in any plot.