Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Dead Float"

Formerly a research scientist and international business executive, award-winning author Warren C. Easley lives in Oregon where he writes fiction and tutors GED students.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Dead Float, the second book in the Cal Claxton Oregon mystery series, and reported the following:
In Dead Float, one of the themes I explore is how my protagonist, Cal Claxton, reacts when thrown into an ever-deepening crisis that could cost him his freedom, if not his life. Cal’s a burned out ex-L.A. prosecutor who has retreated to rural Oregon in the aftermath of his wife’s suicide. For therapy and to please his daughter, Claire, he takes up fly fishing and winds up helping a good friend guide a party of high tech execs through the magnificent Deschutes River Canyon. Things turn ugly when one of the party member’s throat is slashed during the first night. Everyone in the party is a suspect, including Cal. He realizes the fishing knife he’d used to help prepare dinner the night before is now missing, but fails to mention it to the investigators. A gift from Claire, the knife had his initials on it.

On the page 69, we pick up the action when Cal is called back by the investigating officers for a second interview. “Needless to say, I wasn’t brimming with confidence when I presented myself at the front desk,” he tells us when he arrives. There’s another complication—one of the investigating detectives from rural Jefferson County, William “Bull” Dorn, had already taken an instant dislike to Cal in the first interview, an enmity Cal had reciprocated.

When Cal enters the interview room, Dorn speaks first: ‘“Well, well,” Dorn said as he looked up, stubbed out his cigarette, and showed a thin, reptilian smile. “If it isn’t the hotshot L.A. lawyer.”’

The second detective seems more reasonable. But, of course, Cal realizes this is probably a game of good-cop, bad-cop. When shown his knife, which had been recovered from a sandbar in the river, not far from the murder scene, the noose begins to tighten. In Cal’s words, “I realized now with sparkling clarity that I should have told them at the first interview that my knife might be missing. But it was too late now. The explanation I offered sounded lame, but at least it was the truth.”

The news isn’t good, but there’s something else that Cal left out of that first interview, something he needs to set straight—he had had an affair with the wife of the murder victim.

That piece of news was going to make Bull Dorn’s day!
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Read--Coffee with a Canine: Warren C. Easley & Theo.

--Marshal Zeringue