A hit-and-run may be a mob play to move into a real estate venture, according to a pro bono lawyer hired by the victim’s daughter.
Cal Claxton, lawyer to the poor and disenfranchised of Portland, Oregon, uses the coffeehouse Caffeine Central as an ad hoc office to meet with clients. Cal’s been working the low-cost circuit for a few years (Blood for Wine, 2017, etc.), having found work with clients who couldn’t otherwise afford his representation rewarding to his soul if not his wallet. Former wild child Angela Wingate is not Cal’s typical client. Raised in wealth by her property-developing adoptive parents, Charles and Margaret, Angela’s given up her hard-partying ways only in the past few years. Angela’s former lifestyle estranged her from her parents, and she was unable to make amends before Charles’ death last year. But Angela and Margaret had started to rebuild their relationship when Margaret was killed in a hit-and-run five weeks ago. Now Angela pleads for Cal to investigate Margaret’s death. She’s sure it could be related to the leadership at Wingate Properties and to Margaret’s unusual will, which cuts Angela out almost completely. To investigate, Cal connects with his longtime friend Nando Mendoza, a jack-of-all-trades who suspects that Margaret’s death could be connected to Ilya Boyarchenko and the Russian mob, who have their own fingers in property development. When Cal brings his work home to his Dundee farmhouse outside the city, he finds that a mining operation has begun in his backyard, terrifying his companion dog, Archie, and thrusting Cal into legal research on his own behalf. Though he’d love the support and listening ear of his girlfriend, Winona Cloud, she’s distracted by the fight of her people at Standing Rock, and her stress threatens their relationship.
Though the implication of the mob in real estate isn’t the most imaginative gambit, Easley continues in every installment of this series to get a better handle on his characters and the vital balance between principal and supporting plots.