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Welch book takes aim at nature’s foes

Did you know that the geoduck – Washington’s most charming shellfish – is worth millions to shady clam poachers and smugglers?

I certainly didn’t, not until I read Seattle author Craig Welch’s fascinating book, “Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty” (William Morrow, $25.99).

It’s about the law-evading shellfish divers in Puget Sound and the enforcement officers who chase them.

If the name Craig Welch rings a bell, it’s because you may have seen his byline hundreds of times when he was a reporter for The Spokesman-Review. He’s now an environmental writer for the Seattle Times. The book arose from a series of stories he wrote for that paper.

Welch also branches out into discussions of butterfly smugglers and other exotic wildlife crimes. But the story of the geoducks (they have great value in Asia’s seafood markets) is the riveting heart of “Shell Games.”

Welch will read from his book on Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main.

The Kooskia Internment story

A newly published book sheds light on a little-known part of our region’s history: The Kooskia Japanese Internment Camp on the Lochsa River in Idaho.

“Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp” (Asian American Comparative Collection, University of Idaho, $19.95) by Priscilla Wegars tells the story of this 1943-’45 camp. The camp held 265 male “enemy aliens” of Japanese ancestry. Most had been interned elsewhere, but they volunteered for transfer to Kooskia in order to earn wages building the Lewis-Clark Highway, now known as US 12.

Wegars is the volunteer curator of the University of Idaho’s Asian American Comparative Collection and is an independent writer, editor and historian, specializing in research on Asian immigrants in the West.

She’ll be signing books at Book People of Moscow, 521 S. Main, Moscow, Idaho, July 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

‘Lake Pend Oreille’ a hit

Jane Fritz’s fine volume, “Legendary Lake Pend Oreille: Idaho’s Wilderness of Water” (Keokee Books) has already entered a second printing after only seven months.

This proves that readers are eager for books that can help them understand the Inland Northwest, especially when those books are well-researched and well-written.

Fritz, who spent years writing the book, called the response “gratifying.” She’ll be signing her books today, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Floating Restaurant, Highway 200 at Hope Marine, Hope, Idaho.


Here’s a debut spy thriller from local author Kevin Downs that seems apt for Father’s Day: “Spydentity” (Bookstand Publishing).

Downs said this military espionage thriller is inspired by his “two dads”: His father, an Army helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War and his stepfather, a former Secret Service agent and counterterrorism operative.

You can order the book in hardback or paperback from