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Blood for Wine: A Cal Claxton Oregon Mystery

Review

Blood for Wine: A Cal Claxton Oregon Mystery

Cal Claxton is a widower who escaped the pressure cooker life of an LA prosecutor to retreat to an idyllic life as a small-town lawyer in the heart of Oregon wine country. He enjoys a comfortable but modest livelihood sorting out the local legal entanglements of real estate, the occasional divorce, and hanging out with friends and neighbors in the heart of some of the finest wineries in the Willamette Valley.

Cal spends a day a week at his pro-bono office in the seedy part of town, and enjoys evening runs with his dog, Archie, and the occasional company of Winona, his exotic girlfriend, when she’s not fundraising for her favorite causes. He spends his free time in the company of his neighbors in the richest valley for pinot noir grape wines in America. His life is a blissful far cry from the high-pressure prosecutor’s job he left behind in California.

"Warren C. Easley blends my favorite subjects --- wine, food, a really cool dog and, of course, murder --- into a tasty thriller set in Oregon wine country."

The private single practice office doesn’t immunize him from not-so-small crimes. His metropolitan criminal justice experience comes in handy when the wife of his neighbor and close friend, Jim Kavanaugh, is found brutally murdered on a nearby neighborhood road. Jim and his wife are co-owners of a thriving winery where they produce an A-listed line of pinot noir. Recent marital complications point to Jim as the possible killer, but Cal is convinced of Jim’s innocence. Clues pile up almost too conveniently, contrary to the bereaved husband’s proclaimed innocence --- and now it’s up to Cal not only to represent him, but to turn detective in search of the real killer.

Cal finds himself in the crosshairs of the bad guys, so get ready for a stem-winder of an ending. It will keep you up until way past your bedtime.

Warren C. Easley blends my favorite subjects --- wine, food, a really cool dog and, of course, murder --- into a tasty thriller set in Oregon wine country. With more twists and turns than a rainswept coastal road, BLOOD FOR WINE is the fifth in this series with a tantalizing backlist just waiting for me to get my hands on. It promises to be a mystery maven’s haven.

Foodie alert: Easley tantalizes the senses with a nimble hand. He not only cooks up a great whodunit, but must be the most popular host in his rural Portland, Oregon neighborhood.  As one who is easily bored with overwritten plots padded with pages of pretentious accounts about the weather, the scenery, the food, people’s attire and physical appearances, I fell under Easley’s spell of creating deft atmospheric settings. His mouthwatering descriptions of northwest coastal cuisine stirred up in his bachelor kitchen were enough to make me cheat and peek at the end of the book, anathema to any serious reader. It wasn’t to find out how it all ended, though; it was to see if there were any recipes, of all things. I’ll save you purists the guilt trip: they are not included, so pay attention as he whips up each savory coastal treat and mark the pages.

Like any good cook, Easley measures nothing, so let your taste buds be your guide. Hint: the dried cherry herbal reduction is divine with pork. No doubt it would be great with tofu, but I wouldn’t carry things that far.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on June 21, 2017

Blood for Wine: A Cal Claxton Oregon Mystery
by Warren C. Easley

  • Publication Date: June 6, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • ISBN-10: 1464208387
  • ISBN-13: 9781464208386