Police check suspicious devices in North Seattle park

Two suspected pipe bombs were found Friday morning in Cowen Park next to a paperback that police initially described as anti-American writing, but those devices were found to be harmless.

The suspicious devices, made with capped PVC pipes, were found shortly after 10 a.m. near the 15th Avenue Northeast bridge, which was closed for more than 2 hours as detectives investigated. The devices also were near a regular homeless encampment, detective Renee Witt said.

Arson/Bomb squad detectives were called to the North Seattle Park near Northeast 62nd Street.

Police spokespeople did not elaborate on the printed material content, but people familiar with the case said the paperback found was a copy of “The Plot Against America,” by Phillip Roth.

Released in 2004, the work is fiction and envisions an alternate version of American history with Charles Lindbergh as president.

“He negotiates a cordial ‘understanding’ with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism,” according to the book description on Amazon. “For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh’s election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America–and with it, his mother, his father, and his older brother.”

The noel won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction, among other awards. Roth is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author whose 1959 work “Goodbye, Columbus” won the National Book Award for Fiction.

The book and the suspicious devices were found by a Cowen Park maintenance worker.

Police checked several areas of the park and officers drove below the bridge on foot trails looking for suspicious activity. The device was determined to be harmless about 12:10 p.m.

The bridge on 15th Avenue Northeast, about a half mile from The Ave, is regularly open to traffic; the Cowen Park bridge on 20th Avenue Northeast is open only to pedestrian traffic.