Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cody Fowler Davis - Attorney and Author

Some men respond to a midlife crisis by buying a Harley, a convertible, or a speedboat.  Tampa attorney Cody Fowler Davis decided to write a book instead.  The result: Green 61, a legal thriller that gives readers an insider’s view into the workings of our judicial system.  It tells the story of Anderson Parker, an idealistic young lawyer who leaves his lucrative position at a high-powered Tampa firm because of a philosophical conflict with Justin Cartwright, the firm’s ruthless, win-at-all-costs founder. Anderson soon finds himself facing off against Cartwright in a civil suit involving a boating accident that resulted in three deaths.  The story will keep you flipping pages right to the end.

The novel, a finalist in ForeWord's "Book of the Year" Awards, resonates with the realism that can only come from a writer who knows his subject from the inside out.  “Everything about the book is pursuant to the law in Florida,” Davis says. The two main characters, Parker and Cartwright, are composites of “the best and worst attributes of lawyers I’ve known.” In fact, the protagonist’s name (Anderson Parker) comes from the names of two attorneys who worked with Davis. 

The idea for the story came to Davis while he was sitting on the porch of his Useppa Island vacation home, looking out over the water at channel marker 61. “One of the side effects of civil trial work is that you look at everything and see an accident,” Davis explains. “I can’t drive through the city of St. Pete without seeing the residual effects of lawsuits. So creating the boating accident was easy.”  He then “worked backward” to handwrite the rest of the story, appropriately enough, on legal pads.  Although he had been an English major in college, his writing experience was limited to “briefs and legal stuff.” The first draft took him over six months of writing during spare time and while traveling. 

Davis comes from a family with a long legal tradition.  His grandfather, Cody Fowler, was president of the American Bar Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He’s also one of the people Davis admires most because “he taught us the importance of giving back to others.” Davis’s father was a judge and a law professor, and Davis’s brother, Jim, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate.  He calls his brother's failed run for the governor's seat “one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had,” but he has “no sour grapes” about the results. “We have a great political system.  It may not be perfect, but it works.”  He feels the same way about the legal system, saying it has its flaws, but is “about as fair as you can get.”  He likes to quote his grandfather, who said,” Six jurors are a hell of a lot better way to end a dispute as compared to parties pacing off steps and then firing at each other with pistols." 

Encouraged by the response to Green 61, Davis has penned a sequel. Implied Consent is longer and more complex. Its storyline centers around four interesting cases Davis hopes will make people think.  He collaborated on this novel with his wife, Beth, whom he met in 1981 while both were students at Vanderbilt University. “Working together was a great experience,” Davis recalls. “It led to some arguments and screaming, but we learned a lot about each other.” Implied Consent is available on

 Davis has already started on a third novel, tentatively titled Money Rules.  In it, Anderson Parker runs for governor of Florida.  In case you think this is art imitating life, Davis is quick to admit that Parker is not his literary clone. He claims he’s “not nice enough to be Anderson Parker.”  There are similarities, however.  Like Parker, Davis left a large firm to set up his own practice, Davis-Harmon P.A. in Tampa, and he enjoys spending family time on Useppa Island, the setting for Green 61.  Although he’s a self-admitted workaholic, he loves being near the water. “My wife says when I get stressed, I put my head in salt water,” he says.  Or he puts in some time writing.  “I look at writing as more of a hobby.  I find it relaxing. It’s made me give up things like TV and internet backgammon, but it won’t replace my day job.”  You can’t help but wonder if John Grisham said the same thing.

For more about Cody Fowler Davis visit his website at


  1. Hi Jackie,
    Well done as usual. Sounds like some interesting reading... looking forward to seeing how he handles the governorship in "Money Rules"!
    Gracias mi amiga,

  2. Nice profile, as always, of Cody Fowler Davis, Jackie. Congrats to Cody on Green 61, and good luck with the sequel(s!) Welcome to the world of Florida authors, Cody!

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