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    SCREENSCAM by Michael Bowen

    Poisoned Pen Press, 2001

    Attorney Rep Pennyworth's professional goals include sliding by with a minimum of work at the firm where he is a partner, and staying out of trouble. He manages neither when a copyright infringement case is foisted upon him. A large movie studio has appropriated material from a mediocre novel by heiress Charlotte Buchanan. And since her father is CEO of the law firm's biggest corporate client, Rep has to play nice. He must pursue the plagiarism suit, even though he believes it would be in his client's best interest to forget it.

    The lawsuit quickly turns into something much bigger involving foreign relations with China, inappropriate campaign contributions, stolen laptop computers with bogus e-mail messages flying about, and Oscar vote fixing. Rep is also threatened from a different direction when news gets out that he makes frequent visits to certain naughty internet sites on his company computer.

    This book is extremely clever--so clever, in fact, that it lost me. About halfway through I became completely confused as to who was doing what to whom and why. It's a short book, and there seemed to be just too much plot crammed into it. However, Rep and his literary wife, Melissa, are an engaging couple, with Melissa taking an active part in the sleuthing (though Rep is definitely the lead character). The writing is good, the humor works, and there are a few priceless scenes. I just wish I could have understood it all.

    (One extra caveat: If you are turned off by grown people spanking each other, pass this one up. There are numerous references to this activity, including one extremely long and detailed scene involving a dominitrix and her subject.)

    See more reviews of novels by Michael Bowen.

    Two Stars

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