From the judges: Shell Games is a wonderful combination of solid reporting, good historical research and fine writing. In it, Seattle Times environment reporter Craig Welch tackles the issue of geoduck clam poaching and smuggling. It is an issue that could easily be reported as a local story, but Welch expands it into an international one, making clear to readers who live outside the Pacific Northwest why the issue matters. The original investigative reporting on the black market for these aquatic creatures makes it a terrific work of journalism; the strong narrative as the author follows undercover agents keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.
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