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First Avenue

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  99 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Written with compelling authenticity by a former Seattle police officer, this debut novel is the passionate and powerful story of a Seattle cop who can't shake the image of the abandoned, dead baby he finds in a seedy hotel -- and who can't give up on finding the truth until those responsible are taken down...
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 1st 2000 by Onyx (first published October 1st 1999)
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Mysteries aren't my favorite, and First Avenue is what I would call a typical mystery: not much character development, a cliff-hanging story that is ultimately very predictable, and several dropped plot lines. The charm of First Avenue is its setting in Seattle, where I live. Clausen evokes the city, especially the Pike Place Market, with loving detail. The drug bust on the water was riveting, but other than that I found the book's story unremarkable.
Mary  (Biblophile)
Long plodding mystery without much substance. Overly minute details that don't add much to the story.
Most cops find ways to protect themselves from becoming emotionally involved in their cases by learning to distance themselves from the horrors that they see. Every once in a while, though, something will happen that will penetrate that emotional armor. For Seattle beat cop Sam Wright, that something is the death of a baby from malnourishment. The baby is found in a seedy hotel room, with no sign of its mother. What causes this case to resonate emotionally for Sam is the fact that he knows this ...more
Officer Sam Wright finds a dead infant in a run down hotel on First Avenue. He learns that the child's mother works at the Donut Shop and she is missing.

As he begins the paperwork for the case, he keeps the image of the little child in his mind and becomes determined to find answers.

There seems a connection at the Donut Shop and in an unusual coincidence a young woman, not much more than a girl, comes to Seattle looking for Sam. She seems timid and when she sees the Donut Shop, she goes in and g
This is a really good debut novel. I enjoyed the detail that Lowen Clausen puts into it. You can really tell he has walked/rode a beat. Most mysteries you read about how the detective solves everything. This is about a normal beat cop that just uses his gut instinct, years of experience, good intellect and some luck to figure everything out. I really enjoyed his secondary character of Katherine Murphy, who I understand his second book is about. I loved the interactions of the characters with the ...more
A police procedural reminiscent of Wambaugh's earlier works. The opening pages are quite gripping, telling of the protagonist discovering a dead baby in a fleabag hotel. A lot of the human element told from a beat cop's perspective. Only criticism is there were a lot of open ends unanswered that leave a reader hanging, and expecting a sequel. Though there is a follow on novel, it doesn't follow the same characters... he was having an affair with a married neighbor (with her husband's approval), ...more
Disclosure: I *live* on First Avenue - the very one in this book so it was fascinating to read a story about my own neighborhood! That aside, this book was great regardless. Clausen is a first time author and this is a wonderful effort. Seattle police - not the big shots, not the homicide guys… the regular beat cops are the center. A baby is found dead in a seedy hotel. She died from being left there on her own. The solving of the case involves a tour of my neighborhood and inspection into the p ...more
Lowen Clausen's first book about Seattle police officers (he was one)begins with Sam Wright's discovery of a dead infant in a seedy hotel room. The mother is missing, a young woman he remembers seeing with her baby at a nearby donut shop. He is sure something bad has happened to the mother, and he is right. The donut shop is a base of operations for a drug dealer who has something big in the works.

Good characters, interesting plot and an exciting drug bust on the water, with Sam sneaking up on t
Jul 04, 2012 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Andrew by: staff, Elliott Bay Booksellers, Seattle WA
This book was recommended to me by the staff at Elliott Bay Booksellers, in Seattle's Pioneer Square. I read it shortly after returning to Florida, and the book instantly brought me back to the streets I'd been wandering in Seattle shortly beforehand.

Lowen Clausen wrote 3 books in this series, each about a different main character - and I wish he'd have found something new to say about one of them or decided to bright a focus on a fourth, because I was not (and am not) ready to let this series
Dan O
Interesting character study. The book seemed focused more on the character dmotivations than details of the investigation which was interesting all the same. I thought the plot unraveled a bit in the third act when it switched from believable to fantastic. Overall a decent read, and I will be reading the next book in the series.
Interesting police procedural/character study about the Seattle of my young adulthood. While the crime to be solved is interesting, I was more involved with the personal stories of Sam and the folks he runs into on and off the beat. A nice story and a nice snapshot of a Seattle before coffee and computers moved in.
David Woods
Maybe I'd give it a 3.75? This was one of my first cop/crime books. It was set in Seattle written by an ex-Seattle beat cop. It should probably be a 3 star book, but I personally enjoyed it more, so 4 stars it is.
This was a decent crime novel. I still felt that there were a few things that didn't quite come together that well--the female cop character, for one, felt a little forced, and the neighbor-lawyer didn't really go anywhere--but the central mystery was decent.
Police drama based in Seattle. I thought at first it was a little 'wordy' but that thought soon changed to interest. Very well written. In fact I would say the drug bust scene was one of the most exciting I've read.
Highly recommend the book.
Sad but satisfying. A bit too wordy but great potential as a series. I wiil read a couple more before I decide. Not in love with any of the characters...yet.
This seemed slow to me. Sometimes I'd sit down intending to read it, and read the newspaper or Facebook instead. I did like the characters.
Great mystery/cop book, pegged the Seattle tone to a tee.
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