Bowen, Michael 1951–

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Bowen, Michael 1951–

(Michael Anthony Bowen)

PERSONAL: Born July 16, 1951, in Fort Monroe, VA; son of Harold (a medical photographer) and Judith (an office worker; maiden name, Carter-Waller) Bowen; married Sara Armbruster (a lawyer), August 30, 1975; children: Rebecca, Christopher, John, Marguerite, James. Education: Rockhurst College, A.B. (summa cum laude), 1973; Harvard University, J.D. (cum laude), 1976. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—Fox Point, WI. Office—Foley & Lardner, 777 East Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 3900, Milwaukee, WI 53202-5367. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Admitted to the Bars of Wisconsin and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits; Foley & Lardner (law firm), Milwaukee, WI, partner, 1976–. Member of Milwaukee Archdiocese Medical Ethics Committee and Wisconsin Right to Life Legal Committee.

MEMBER: St. Thomas More Lawyers' Society, Milwaukee Bar Association, Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Award for provision of pro bono legal services, Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association.



Badger Game, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1989.

Fielder's Choice, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1991.

Act of Faith, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1993.

The Fourth Glorious Mystery, Branden Publishing (Boston, MA), 2000.


Washington Deceased, St. Martin's (New York, NY) 1990.

Faithfully Executed, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1992.

Corruptly Procured, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1994.

Worst Case Scenario: A Washington, D.C. Mystery, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1996.

Collateral Damage, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1999.


Screenscam, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2001.

Unforced Error: A Rep and Melissa Pennyworth Mystery, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2001.


(With Gary Marshall and Kay Freeman) Passing By: The United States and Genocide in Burundi (monograph), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington, DC), 1973.

Can't Miss, Harper (New York, NY), 1987.

(With Brian E. Butler) The Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law, State Bar of Wisconsin (Madison, WI), 1988, third edition, 2003.

(With Denis Fox) The Law of Private Companies, Sweet & Maxwell (London, England), 1991.

Hillary!: How America's First Woman Won the White House (novel), Braden Books (Boston, MA), 2003.

Contributor to law journals, including Harvard Law Review.

SIDELIGHTS: Michael Bowen is a practicing lawyer who specializes in commercial litigation and arbitration, and lender liability. In addition to writing legal-related books, he is also the author of a number of mystery novels, many of which draw on his legal and political knowledge. Several novels by Bowen feature Richard Michaelson, a retired Foreign Service diplomat, and his friend Marjorie Randolph. In one title in the series, Worst Case Scenario: A Washington D.C. Mystery, Michaelson investigates the murder of a young woman retaining a piece of paper that has the potential to cause a major political scandal in Washington, DC. While Dick Lochte, writing in the Los Angeles Times, found the dialogue to be sharp but overwhelming in quantity, he also noted that "Bowen seems to have the real stuff. He's funny and cynical and is capable of conjuring up a credible scenario."

Michaelson investigates another case in Collateral Damage. This novel focuses on the sale of a mansion owned by a recently deceased Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent. The agent's daughters, Cindy and Catherine Shepherd, are odd at best and want the house sold quickly. The sale takes an unusual turn because the property itself is at the center of a secret. Michaelson takes charge of the mansion's sale as well as the investigation of the unexpected death of Catherine's fiancé on the property. Budd Arthur praised Bowen's development as a writer in Booklist, acknowledging that "solid research and sharp writing make for an excellent read."

Another series of Bowen's mysteries follows Repper "Rep" Pennyworth, an intellectual property lawyer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. He wants to live a simple, quiet life, spending time with his wife, Melissa, and their family, but he and his wife get caught up in investigations which pull them away from home. One of their adventures, Screenscam, is a book that a Kirkus Review critic called "the first mystery in many a day that should have been longer." In the novel, Pennyworth is assigned the case of Charlotte Buchanan, the author of a poorly written novel and the daughter of a wealthy client of his firm's. Charlotte believes the idea behind her abysmal novel has been stolen to be made into a movie, and she instructs Pennyworth to take the studio to court. Though they doubt the validity of her claim at first, Pennyworth and his wife realize that she might be right. During the course of his investigation, Pennyworth discovers the case is more complicated than it appears; Charlotte herself has sinister intentions. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented, "Bowen writes with knowledge and wit, tongue in cheek or rudely protruding. His cat-and-mouse corporate thriller zips merrily to a high-speed conclusion."

The Pennyworths return in Unforced Error: A Rep and Melissa Pennyworth Mystery. Here the couple travels to Kansas City, Missouri, to participate in a reenactment of a Civil War battle and spend time with a school friend of Melissa's, Laura Damon, and her husband, Peter. Laura works for a publisher that Rep would like for a client. Rep and Melissa end up investigating the death of Laura's co-worker and lover, Thomas Quinlan, during the battle and the subsequent disappearance of Peter. Unforced Error is "well-crafted" and "well-researched," according to a Publishers Weekly writer, who concluded that "fans of more literate mysteries have good reason to cheer."

Bowen once told CA: "My readers are elite in the sense that the British Parliament is elite—they are not particularly distinguished, but there are only about 600 of them! I like to think of myself as the last novelist in America who hasn't been ripped off for an Eddie Murphy movie. My two driving ambitions are to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court and to appear on the French television program Apostrophes."



Booklist, May 15, 1999, Budd Arthur, review of Collateral Damage, p. 1672.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of Screenscam, p. 1246.

Los Angeles Times, December 15, 1996, Dick Lochte, "Murder, He Wrote," review of Worst Case Scenario, p. 3.

Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2001, review of Screenscam, p. 70; March 22, 2004, review of Unforced Error: A Rep and Melissa Pennyworth Mystery, p. 66.


Foley & Lardner LLP Web site, (October 4, 2005), biography of Michael Bowen.