Not Dead Enough

Warren C. Easley (Matters of Doubt, Dead Float) continues his Cal Claxton series with Not Dead Enough. Cal is enjoying his new life in Oregon. He's starting to make friends, and his law practice is growing, although the suicide of his wife still haunts him.

One of his new friends, Philip Lone Deer, introduces Cal to his cousin Winona. Winona is the granddaughter of a Wasco man named Nelson Queah. Fifty years earlier, Nelson bitterly fought the construction of the Dalles Dam on the Columbia River, because it destroyed the Wasco tribe's traditional salmon fishing grounds. The 1957 night that the dam's floodgates first closed, destroying the Wasco village, also marked the last time that anyone saw Nelson alive.

At the time, biased police officers chalked it up to "another drunk Indian," and didn't do much about his disappearance. But Winona has always been convinced that her grandfather met with foul play, and begs Cal to try to solve Nelson's disappearance. It quickly becomes clear, however, that political tension around Oregon's dams has not eased in the last half-century, and as the bodies start piling up, Cal is worried he's the next target.

With a very likable sleuth, Not Dead Enough is sure to appeal not only to mystery lovers, but also to those interested in Native American history, Oregonian culture and environmental issues like salmon migration. Although Not Dead Enough is the fourth in the series, it can easily read as a standalone, allowing fans of Tony Hillerman or Dana Stabenow to dive right into Cal Claxton's life. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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