Poisoned Pen Press, April 2004, 24.95, 212 pp.
A beautiful woman propositions Peter Damon, but he turns her down because he loves his wife. He learns later that his refusal was broadcasted on the reality show Reality Check Live. His stunned spouse hears how he describes her in glowing and loving terms while Linda has just cheated for the first time on him with her boss at Jackrabbit Press, R. Thomas Quinlan. Feeling guilty, Linda resolves to tell her beloved the truth about her transgression if she can work up the courage.
The Damons and their friends Rep and Melissa Pennyworth go to the Civil War reenactment of the BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK. Afterward both couples attend a party given by Thomas. While Linda tries to tell Peter about her transgression, Rep attempts to win his host's legal account. Peter suddenly rushes out of the house and subsequently Rep finds Thomas' murdered body inside a Porto-potty. At Peter's home, Rep and Melissa find his civil war sword with blood on it that turns out to be a DNA match with the victim's blood. Somebody set Peter up for the murder and Melissa, Rep and Linda intend to find the culprit or die trying.
The first book SCREENSCAM was a witty and fascinating who-done-it but UNFORCED ERROR is an even better tale. Michael Bowen is a gifted storyteller who creates believable and memorable protagonists, puts them in Byzantium situations, and then turns them loose as they seek to do what they believe is right while they cause mayhem and confusion for anyone who tries to stop them but elation for the audience. Readers will love UNFORCED ERROR and want more installments forthcoming in this delightful series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner