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on July 28, 2002
Mark Cohen's vidid portrayal of the sleepy little town of Nederland, Colorado brings the cozy 1960 style hamlet into the terrible and turbulant 21st century. Mark Cohen's style of suspense, drama, and attention to detail will make his name soon to be a challange to the Griffin's, Follett's, Spillaine's and Clancy's of this great work of relaxiation and enjoyment.
Bill Byrum
Hypnotherapist A.P.H.S.
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on May 24, 2013
Wonderful read. Lots of twists and turns with just a dash of romance. Characters have a great history and I love how they interact with each other. Not to mention the guy loves animals. Pretty sure that checks off almost all of the things I look for in as great book, animals, mystery, awesome characters & a dash of romance. Highly recommended!
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on August 11, 2003
Good story, engaging and fun. Some of the writing gets a little tired (plus the details of this man's work out schedual get a little old) - but definately a fun light read. Wish his female characters were a little more fleshed out, but he does a great job building the dogs into great characters.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Fractal Murders is a fine first novel that promises good things to come from Mr. Mark Cohen. The mystery is intriguing and hard to track down. The characters are interesting and are unveiled slowly to make them more realistic. The context is full of Baby Boomer trivia, intellectual references and cultural memorabilia. The writing is well done, taking complex subjects like fractals and turning them into something almost anyone can understand. For those who love math, this book will have special appeal.
I was drawn to the book by its title. A book called "The Fractal Murders" had to offer something new. I was pleased to find that it did.
Pepper Keane is a man seeking himself . . . in a single existence filled mostly with the companion of men and his energetic dogs, Buck and Wheat. He's done with pretension, making impressions and seeking the big bucks. But a man does have to stay occupied and he does occasional P.I. jobs while still moonlighting as a brief writer (he's a lawyer by original profession).
Keane hasn't had a job in quite some time when math professor Jayne Smyers hires him to find out if something connects the deaths of three top math experts on fractals. Knowing her statistics, she's sure that this can be no coincidence, and found the investigation by the FBI to be less than satisfying. Taking her retainer, Keane promises to find out what he can . . . but offers no guarantees. Soon, his fine intellect is taking him deep into papers on mathematics and he begins to discern a pattern. Then, using traditional investigative techniques, he begins to sketch in the details. From there, help from not-so-legal friends adds more context. The case builds slowly and unpredictably from these foundations in an extremely pleasing way. Stick around to the end, it's worth your effort. This is one of the best-developed plots I have ever seen in a first novel.
If I liked the book so much, why did I grant four stars instead of five? Well, Mr. Cohen needed a little stronger editing. He puts his descriptions in many places many pages after where they belong and unnecessarily delays revealing other relevant facts. As a result, I found myself rereading pages to figure out what I had missed . . . only to find the material I was looking for 40 pages further on. It was annoying. But I'm sure experience will iron out this problem.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
University of Colorado math professor Jayne Smyers sent her paper on fractal geometry to five of her peers. However, three are unable to respond because they died within a few months of one another. Jayne, used to finding patterns where none seemingly exist, believes the probability of this pattern in her relatively small populated field too astronomical to consider as random.
She hires former US Marine's judge magistrate Pepper Keane to set aside his Gordon Lightfoot collection and investigate the three deaths. The link seems nebulous at best with the only commonality being math. However, Pepper becomes a bit suspicious of FBI Agent Mike Polk, who insists coincidence is the only connection since parallel lines never meet. Pepper realizes that his hatred for Post might be causing him to see a radically different pattern as he blames the Denver based agent for the death of his lover, but feels that contrary to Euclid these parallel cases connect at a vertex, which leads back to Post.
Mark Cohen furbishes an entertaining private investigative tale that provides fascinating insight into fractal geometry. Snowflakes and shorelines aside, the mystery is fun to follow as Pepper looks for the pattern that ties the dead trio together while Jayne explains her expertise to him even as he hungers for a closer look at her shape. Don't let the geometry keep you from reading an enjoyable solid analytical mystery that plainly works on several hyperbolic levels with a final twist in which the sum of the angles of a triangle do not equal 180 degrees.
Harriet Klausner
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on September 23, 2010
I am not going into a lengthy review about this book I would just like to say that Mark Cohen is a fantastic writer with a sense of humor. I have read both of his books and wonder when or if he will write another.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2003
Using a murder mystery plot as a backdrop for a generational dialogue, this book is filled with understated humor, understated Bret Easton Ellis superficial character styling, philosophic dabbling, and adventures in fractal geometry to develop an absorbing and entertaining novel. I really really liked it. While I trust Tucker Anderson's acumen on financial markets and stock picking more than his editorial comment on books and films, he really hit this one right. But as a first novel the question is "what can a follow up be for Mark Cohen?". He seems to draw so heavily on his own personal experience that I'm not sure what more we can learn about Pepper. And second, while a mystery was set up, there were really no clues to resolution hidden in the story. Boom, surprise at the end---so that's who did it. I didn't care about this flaw because the book apart from the mystery was so engaging. So my suggestion is unequivocally to read this one, and hope that this is just the beginning of an offbeat and creative series of Pepper Keane stories.
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on September 21, 2013
The book kept me hooked; page to page I couldn't stop reading! Every break through in the case was another reason to keep turning the page and see where Pepper Keane would take me next.
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on January 19, 2005
He gets the fractal math stuff right and captures the university atmosphere well too. It is the most fun read I've had in years.
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on October 19, 2014
Well done, and excellently presented I highly recommend this story.
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