Second Watch is a street-level view of Ballard.
Ballard Beat: It sounds like a Scandinavian reggae band. In the
hands of Lowen Clausen, however, the Ballard Beat refers to the
territory covered by two policewomen. Clausen's sturdy new
novel, "Second Watch," (Silo Press, $24.95) takes us to the same
street-level policing as did his debut, "First Avenue." It's a
world the author knows well and conveys clearly; he was a beat
cop in Seattle from 1969 to 1982. As the new book opens,
Katharine Murphy, who played a strong supporting role in "First
Avenue," has a new assignment patrolling Ballard. Katharine's
new partner, Ballard native Grace Stevens, is showing her the
The second novel from former Seattle police officer Clausen is equal parts police procedural and character
study, and the two halves are balanced to perfection. Katherine
Murphy, a cool, competent Seattle cop, has a new patrol, a new
shift and a new partner: hard-as-nails Grace Stevens. When the
partners discover the bodies of two children, sexually abused
and placed in separate dumpsters, they become enmeshed in an
undercover investigation that is chilling .... Clausen devotes
large portions of the narrative to character development,
allowing his protagonists to become highly imagined characters
with compelling desires and flaws. The supporting cast is
fascinating as well: the tender-hearted Danish grocer, Rigmor,
steals every scene she's in; and Dale, Katherine's kind gay
neighbor, is a voice of sanity in her increasingly insane life.
Perhaps most interesting of all is Thomas Rosencrantz, a quirky,
homeless intellectual who helps pinpoint the killer. This highly
readable narrative moves more slowly than many books of its ilk,
but readers will likely be too caught up in the characters'
lives to care.
has been chosen as the 2004 recipient of the Friends Of
Mystery's heralded Spotted Owl award for his book Second
Watch. The book was published in 2003 by Silo Press and
Penguin Putnam paperbacks. Clausen also won the award in 2000
for his debut book First Avenue and the repeat honor this
year marks the first time in the history of the award that an
author has won more than once. Committee member Pete Scott said
of the book: “A very strong book with great characters and a
setting that has the right feel”, and fellow reader Maggie
Stuckey said: "The slow, sweet rendering of Ballard - its
people, its daily rhythms - is perfect”.
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