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The Fractal Murders

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  213 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Jane Smythe, a math professor specializing in fractal geometry, is shocked to learn that three professors with the same specialty have died amid mysterious circumstances. That's where Pepper Keane, an ex-Marine turned PI with an encyclopedic knowledge of rock 'n' roll, comes in. He finds himself attracted to Professor Smythe and is determined to discover the root of these ...more
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Published July 31st 2007 by Mysterious Press (first published 2002)
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Sep 04, 2007 LJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE FRACTAL MURDERS (Private Investigator) – VG
Mark Cohen – 1st book
Mysterious Press, 2004 – Hardcover
Math professor Jayne Smyers asserts that the probability of three other professors, experts in fractal geometry, must be related, despite what the FBI says. So she hires investigator Pepper Keane, a former Marine JAG and prosecuting attorney, to look for the link, and the killer.
*** Pepper is intelligent and fully dimensional, a man still on the search for who he is. There are wonderful relation
Sep 21, 2007 Christine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulpplus
Murder plagues the community of fractal geometers. Uninspiring. I thought the sleuth, "Pepper Keane," was a jerk and the story lacked suspense. I finished it last week and I don't remember who dun it! Admittedly that's the type of detail I wouldn't remember but still.

The saving graces were the elements of fractal geometry and philosophy, which set this book apart from the literally thousands of uninspiring murder-mysteries out there. On a scale from "Ugh" to "Wow!," it gets an "Eh."
Sep 23, 2007 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
RATING: 3.5/C+
GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Mystery, 2004, 311 pgs
TIME/PLACE: Present, Colorado
CHARACTERS: Pepper Keane, former Marine & lawyer, now PI
COMMENTS: Hired by a math professor who specializes in fractal geometry. She refuses to believe that 3 recent deaths by colleagues across the country could be coincidental.
Leif Anderson
Jun 19, 2008 Leif Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It was amazing how much this book overlapped with my own life and interests. A lot of the locations were places that I have lived, and since I study chaos, I feel kind of at home talking about fractals.
Also, it was a really good book. At first I wasn't sure about Cohen's style, but after a chapter or two, I was completely at home. I enjoyed reading this book a lot.
Oct 18, 2008 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an amusing book to read while I was traveling by train from Annapolis back to Denver. I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise. Standard detective fiction with the twist that it takes place in Nederland/Boulder. Good characterizations and an interesting premise about fractal math and how it might be a motive for murder.
Oct 21, 2008 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in an engaging series. I found the mystery a little obvious and it went on a little longer than I would have liked, but I like the protagonist, Pepper Keane, a former JAG lawyer turned private investigator. In all, a fun, light read.
Dec 28, 2008 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 15, 2009 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
i picked-up this book at the library 'cause the cover was interesting and i thought shan might like it (not based on more than the fact that it was a "math murder mystery")... but he read about 10 pages and decided it was no good... i picked it up and read it despite it not being very good.

pretty slow for a mystery, but it picked-up at the end.
Mar 01, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Amy Kane
Shelves: fiction
This was a bit outside what I would normally pick up, but I enjoyed the Whitman College connection! Nothing like reading a mystery about a murdered math professor at the college where you majored in math. I even brought it to work one day because I couldn't wait to get to the bottom of the mystery!
First in the Pepper Keane series. I enjoyed the math connection, and the main characters were well developed. I finished it wanting more about the love interest. The writing style was a little annoying, but suited the main character. It was told in first person, and Keane’s voice was clear. Short “sentences” missing nouns abounded. I could envision a sort of gruff guy talking like that – but what’s with the name? There was a last minute twist regarding the murderer, but it made sense.
Jul 31, 2010 Marva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So-so mystery. Interesting enough for me to finish it. I thought the end a bit slapdash. Still Pepper Keane (male PI) is an interesting character. I think, however, the author might skip describing everybody's clothing each time they appear in the book
Michael crage
Oct 20, 2010 Michael crage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good book, well written easy to read and the math was even good. When I found that this was Mark Cohen's first book, I was very much impressed. He did not write like a newbie. By the way, if you are afraid of math, don't let that scare you away from the book. The only reason math is involved is that three people who work in the same esoteric field of math were murdered in different states and a fourth mathematician of the same field is the only one who believes they are connected ...more
Mary Pfeifer
Feb 05, 2011 Mary Pfeifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mary-s-picks
I would love someone in my book club, if they have time, to read this book. My thesis was on fractal mathematics and I read this book during that time frame. This book has violence without disrespecting women.

If you get me talking about color theory or fractal mathematics, I will talk for ever. This book may let you have an "ahhhh ha" moment with mathematics. please consider reading it.
Aug 11, 2011 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, this was a great book! I'm about to order the second, and already I'm disappointed that the author only wrote two books.
Sep 21, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another lawyer written book. Starts off hideously, but gets better. Still reads like a woman wrote it. Nice twist at the end, not unbelievable. Good use of fractal math and its applications in business.
Nov 22, 2011 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. Pepper Keane is a former Marine, former federal prosecutor and current Private Investigator living near Boulder, Colorado.

When a local mathematics professor contacts him to look in to the deaths of three other mathematics professors, all of whom specialize in a very narrow field of mathematics called Fractal Geometry. At first glace they appear to be non-related incidents but as Pepper starts looking closer he finds some very disturbing information.

Pepper is an interesting
Sep 25, 2012 Loy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I really enjoyed this book
The main character was funny
The subject matter fractal numbers was a little hard to understand but the mystery was very good

Worth the read
Nov 12, 2012 Terrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unexpectedly good! As a math major who also worked on a Navy project using fractal geometry, I enjoyed the math-related aspects. The writing and dialogue is good and reminiscent of the leaders in this genre. Disappointed to find there's only one more in the series so far.
Arax Miltiadous
οκ, έμαθα τι είναι τα fractal, πράγμα που θα μπορούσα να το κάνω και διαβάζοντας ένα βιβλίο που αφορά τα fractal καθαρά, γιατί όσο για τους φόνους.. εχμ...
βαρετό βιβλίο η αλήθεια να λέγετε..
Nov 26, 2012 Trever rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, doesn't quite compares to other murder mysteries. Calculus of murder has a much more interesting premise with more intriguing details about the main character.
Janet Berkman
Dec 30, 2012 Janet Berkman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math
I wasn't expecting that much from this self-published novel (that subsequently got picked up by a publishing company), but it was quite good. A murder mystery set in Colorado, it's got interesting characters and an intriguing mathematical component. I've added Cohen's second book Bluetick Revenge to my to-read pile.
Jan 02, 2013 Alexis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
**1/2The plot of this murder mystery is believable, without major plot holes, and you learn a (very) few things about math. But it's a P.I. story, and the first thing you need is a good - no, a great protagonist. That is, a guy who smokes like a volcano, drinks bourbon in underground bars full of mobsters and hookers, wears long coats and 30's hats, maybe falls for a femme fatale, and lives alone in a small apartment. His friends are scumbags, criminals, whores, maybe a couple of cops.
A fun book & with likeable characters. Reminds me of a James Lee Burke book, but much lighter. Former Marine JAG wrote this, & has a good sense of law, while being funny. Rather light. Man gives up life in the fast lane to becom detective,then has risky times finding " who done it". Worth your time!
Nov 10, 2013 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The premise, to the non-mathematical type, may at first sound like a groaner. Lawyer-turned-private eye Pepper Keane of Colorado accepts what seems like an unsolvable case of three murders. His client, the no-nonsense math professor Jayne Smyers, is convinced the deaths of three peers is related to their expertise in fractal geometry, which she goes on to explain in great detail. Even Pepper, it seems, is scratching his head.

Nonetheless, the action that ensues in THE FRACTAL MURDERS is guarantee
Feb 14, 2014 Larry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An OK private eye novel is made a bit more interesting by its connection with the upper levels of mathematics.
Cathe Olson
Private Investigator Pepper Keane is hired by an attractive math professor to investigate the murders of several fellow fractal geometry specialists which the authorities have deemed unrelated.

This was not most well-written book I've read, especially the awful dialogue, but the personality of the main character made it quite an enjoyable read.
The mystery is good, and the main character and his pals are likeable. However, there is way too much detail in some places. We don't need to know how much he paid for an ice cream cone, or what every character in evey scene is wearing.
Sep 14, 2014 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Pepper Keane mystery series.
Good, better than average.
Pepper is a former attorney, now investigator. A lot like Spencer.
Meets professor girlfriend Jayne.
Revolves around 3 murders, FBI and math.
Phil Hodge
May 03, 2015 Phil Hodge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good murder mystery, a few soft places in the logic, but a good chance to learn about about fractals.
αρκετές πληροφορίες για τα φράκταλ και τις χρήσεις τους (κάποιες σειρές τις "πέρασα" στο ντούκου ομολογώ) αλλά γενικά συμπαθητική ιστορία με την απαραίτητη ρομαντική χροιά και τον δολοφόνο να φανερώνεται στην τελευταία σελίδα κυριολεκτικά.
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