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Unforced Error (Rep & Melissa Pennyworth Series) Paperback – July 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Rep & Melissa Pennyworth Series (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590582896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590582893
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,361,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Bowen's well-crafted, well-researched second Rep and Melissa Pennyworth misadventure (after 2001's Screenscam), the couple hook up with their good friends librarian Peter Damon and his wife Linda in Kansas City, Mo., for a reenactment of an obscure Civil War battle. Rep, a trademark and copyright lawyer, also hopes to woo as a client the book publisher Linda works for, Jackrabbit Press, whose head, John Paul Lawrence, views reenactments as a means to promote his company's line of bodice-ripping historical romances. When Rep discovers the saber-slit body of Linda's co-worker Thomas Quinlan, just after Linda confesses to Melissa that her relationship with Quinlan has advanced from boardroom to boudoir, the mild-mannered Peter becomes the chief murder suspect. After Peter disappears, Rep uncovers an astounding plot that will certainly catch the reader by surprise. Amusing references to cultural icons both high and low punctuate the narrative (e.g., in the space of one page, Wuthering Heights, Evelyn Waugh, the Audrey Hepburn character in Charade, Kirk Douglas and Seven Days in May, both the book and the movie). A fictional reality-TV program provides the neat twist in the novel's clever opening chapter. And the Civil War stuff is a treat, too: fans of more literate mysteries have good reason to cheer.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Copyright lawyer Rep Pennyworth and wife, Melissa, are back in Bowen's follow-up to Screenscam (2001). The Pennyworths travel to Kansas City to stay with Melissa's school chum, Linda Damon, and her husband, Peter. An employee of Jackrabbit Press, Linda hopes to direct some lucrative copyright business to Rep through an introduction to the company owner, John Paul Lawrence; the only catch being that Rep and Melissa must participate in a Civil War reenactment that Lawrence is attending. After their first night in camp, Rep and another "soldier" find a dead body in the latrine: handsome editor Tom Quinlan, with whom Linda was having an affair. As Rep and Melissa try to solve the crime, our minds are distracted from the somewhat implausible plot by the appeal of the heroes. A modern-day Nick and Nora, the quick-witted Rip and the literature-loving Melissa trade sophisticated quips that may make readers wish they had paid more attention in English class. Good fun, but let's hope Bowen tightens up the plotting a bit next time. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on July 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Intellectual property lawyer Rep Pennyworth figures he'll do just about anything to bring in a big-bucks client. He'll even spend a weekend as a civil war reenactor while he tries to decide whether the publisher really can trademark the idea of a faux civil war unit. He can't figure out how the publisher could make any money at it, but that isn't the lawyer's job and a hundred thousand bucks is real money. But when an editor ends up killed and Rep's friend Peter is the lead suspect, Rep realizes he's going to have to do more than dry lawyering--he'll have to figure out what really happened before Peter is sent to prison.
The dead man isn't exactly a saint--he had an affair with Peter's wife, for one thing--which gives Rep and his wife Melissa a cast of suspects. But the police like to follow the obvious, especially when Peter's civil war cavalry sabre tests positive for the dead man's DNA. Plenty of library research into civil war battles and Vichy France politics, as well as a scad of literary illusions add depth to the story as Melissa tries to decide which philosopher to use to advise her friend--finally to decide on Travis McGee (of John D. MacDonald fame) and Rep finally agrees to play Nick and Nora (of The Thin Man fame) with Melissa.
Author Michael Bowen dishes up plenty of plenty of literary illusions for fans of mystery and literature, a clever opening scene involving a potential affair and reality T.V. and some interesting looks into civil war reenacting. I thought that the final revelation into the badguy's ultimate plot was a bit over the top, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the adventure, the witty dialogue, or the way nerdy librarians, book editors, and intellectual property lawyers become action heros.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Barnes on June 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Michael Bowen is a "writer's writer." With smart, stylish prose he weaves together various aspects of modern pop-culture, from Reality TV to romance novels to Civil War battle reenactments. His characters are likeable, their conversations are lively, and when a gunshot rings out in the Kansas City library, you know you're in for a wild, bookish ride. It's all-hell-breaks-loose in the Heartland, over-the-top fun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on April 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The fun of this book is the main characters of Rep and Melissa and the itinerary references. The weakness is and that, at times, the literary references occasionally seem forced and get in the way of the story, and the complete implausibility of the plot. But it's worth a look if you're in the mood for something light that will test your memory of literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By carl brookins VINE VOICE on May 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The tone of this novel and the author's attitude toward murder and mystery fiction, is immediately encapsulated in the prologue. "First degree murder is punishable by death in Missouri, even if the victim is an editor of romance novels." Reppert G. Penneworth, top copyright lawyer and his wife Melissa go off to Kansas City to explore the possibility of groundbreaking legal stuff, something most lawyers aspire to. He's dropped almost immediately into a puzzling murder case involving Civil War re-enactors, a publisher, a philandering editor, a huffy romance novelist, and a raft of other engaging characters. The books is replete with literary allusions, clever dialogue and one of the smartest amateur detectives to grace the pages of mystery fiction in a long time. Now, writing new copyright law may sound a bit dull, but be assured, it isn't, not in the deft hands of this author.
This is a very well-written novel, moves with great pace, avoids pitfalls of deficient logic and rockets to a teriffic ending.
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By moderatelymoderate on November 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both good & bad guys didn't behave with much sense & the literary allusions were a bit forced. So I cannot recommend it.
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Unforced Error (Rep & Melissa Pennyworth Series)
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