First Avenue


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$22 Hardcover

6 x 9

352 pages

ISBN: 0966991907

Rights: SILO


Read the First Chapter


"A former beat cop, Clausen recreates a part of Seattle lost to today's gentrification: the wet grime of First Avenue from Pike Place Market to Pioneer Square. In this evocative first novel, Officer Sam Wright kayaks to work and solves a haunting crime involving an abandoned baby and the still-infamous Donut Shop. This is the Seattle I moved to in 1980, and Lowen nails the seediness of the city as it was then."


          —Book Sense 76 Pick -Tammy Domike, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Seattle, WA

"First Avenue has an authenticity that only a real cop could convey. Sights, sounds, smells, and–most of all–real emotion mark this novel as a winner! Clausen is a natural, and I hope First Avenue is only the first in a series. I loved this book!"


          —Ann Rule, Author of The Stranger Beside Me

"Every once in a great while, when you finish the last page of a book, you take a deep breath and murmur, ‘perfect, absolutely perfect.’ First Avenue is the novel you wish you were talented enough to write. The plot builds with a measured pace to a tense climax like a good piece of music. Clausen breathes life into the characters and makes you care about them. The pace at which the characters are introduced allows the reader to take them in. The setting, Seattle, is evoked in palpable, realistic detail, conveying the Pike Place Market area the way it used to be in its bad old days."


          —Mystery Books Newsletter, Cambridge, MA


"The true strengths of this wonderful first book lie not only in the well-plotted story and interesting characters but also in the quality of the writing that evokes a vivid picture of Seattle, both beautiful and seedy." Read the entire review - Spotted Owl Award


          —Friends of Mystery, for the best mystery novel of 1999 by a Northwest author

"As moody as Seattle in the rain, and just as alluring. It’s a skillful, memorable first novel."


          —Stephen White, New York Times best selling author

"A thoughtful police drama, filled with insight and empathy. More than a shoot-em-up, First Avenue offers a glimpse at the human beings who can be found in the shadows of skid row. Clausen is a fine writer with enough talent and personal experience to keep us reading for many more books."


          —John Straley, author of The Woman Who Married a Bear

"Seattle cop Sam Wright is a loner with a pretty predictable life. He usually starts his days with a vigorous kayaking jaunt, followed by shooting the breeze with the old proprietor of a small coffee shop, before getting down to police business. Sam's routine suddenly changes after he is called to an old hotel where the body of a baby has been found. What's particularly troublesome is that Sam knows he saw the baby and its young mother just a few weeks earlier. Sam chases down any lead that could provide clues to the baby's death and the mother's disappearance, leading to discovery of a sinister twist (that some cops may be involved) that makes him all the more determined to find out who's responsible. Clausen debuts with a strong effort: Sam is a well-developed, intriguing protagonist whom readers will root for, and the downtown Seattle ambiance, especially the references to teenage gangs, is vivid."


          Publisher's Weekly

"With wet cheeks and Band-Aids on three fingernails, I finished reading Lowen Clausen’s recreation of Seattle’s notorious peepshow district in the 70’s, First Avenue (Watershed Books). It’s a quick, compelling, literate read about a Seattle cop whose determination to solve a particularly horrible crime entangles him in unsuspected mysteries and secrets of his own life."
(Read Entire Review)


          —Nick DiMartino, Footnotes

"First Avenue by former Seattle policeman Lowen Clausen, is a solid debut marked by unfussy prose and straightforward plot lines: Officer Sam Wright must deal with the death of an abandoned baby and some suspicious goings-on at a doughnut shop, and a young woman with a personal connection to Wright tentatively seeks him out. The book's chief pleasure, however, lies in its evocation of Seventies-era First Avenue. Longtime Seattleites will remember the street in its bad old days, chockablock with porno joints and suchlike; Clausen's sleazy doughnut shop, across from the Market, is uncomfortably close to the real-life place that scared me when I was a clueless youth. Sam Wright may be the book's protagonist, but First Avenue is its uneasy star."


          Seattle Times

"Before I was two chapters into this book I was remembering when I discovered Michael Connelly 's first book, BLACK ECHO, and stayed up all night reading. I get the same charge from this novel. A new police procedural is always cause for celebration, especially when it's as well-done as Lowen Clausen's debut novel. Officer Sam Wright, on the edge of burnout, teams with his colleague Katherine Murphy to uncover the story behind an abandoned baby found dead in a seedy First Avenue hotel. Lowen Clausen spent 13 years as a beat cop in Seattle before the days of Microsoft-era prosperity. His eye for the details of the mean streets is compelling. It debuted late last year in its hometown of Seattle, and by the end of the year it was a runaway word-of-mouth bestseller. Stephen White says, "FIRST AVENUE is as moody as Seattle in the rain, and just as alluring. It's a skillful, memorable first novel." If you miss this one, you'll be kicking yourself for the rest of the year."


          —DISCOVERY BOOK OF THE MONTH - The Mystery Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA


"Clausen spent a dozen years as a Seattle cop, working the beat his book covers. Writers have to walk a fine line dealing with backgrounds their readers don't know about; it's very easy to (1) not explain enough, and leave readers mystified, or (2) explain too painstakingly, and bore the readers to sleep. Clausen walks this line very well, giving us a good look at the on-the-job life of a cop, without going into unnecessary tedious detail. He makes it very clear, as well, that cops are just people and cannot be classified en masse as either bullies or angels."


          Verna Smith, Northwest Bookfest

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