Cover image for The fractal murders
The fractal murders
Cohen, Mark, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Mysterious Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
vi, 311 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Jayne Smyers, a math professor specializing in fractal geometry, is shocked to learn that three professors with the same speciality have died amid mysterious circumstances. With the help of Pepper Keane, the investigation moves from the rocky terrain of Colorado to Mexico, Boston and Nebraska in search of the killer.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This clever mystery pits a private eye against a murderer who is systematically slaying top American mathematicians. The link? The victims are all proponents of fractal geometry, the discipline that analyzes geometric shapes to identify patterns and predict behaviors in complex systems.ayne Smyers, an assistant math professor, noticed the pattern of death among fractal specialists when she sought responses to a paper. Three of the mathematicians died in the preceding six months--two were murdered and one was an apparent suicide--prompting Smyers to consult Peppereane, a Colorado private eye.eane, a former Marine and federal prosecutor, narrates this tale of finding his own patterns in the cutthroat world of "publish or perish" academics.eane has a past that fleshes out his motivation, a wry wit, and an enemy who does everything to keep him permanently clueless. A consistently absorbing first novel. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A surprising premise and an extraordinary theme equal an accomplished debut. That's simple math, but the geometric concepts that fuel Cohen's book are far more advanced. Former federal prosecutor Pepper Keane is hired by University of Colorado mathematics professor Jayne Smyers to look into the deaths of three colleagues who had nothing in common other than their field of expertise fractal geometry. An FBI investigation prompted by Smyers found no link among the geographically separate, methodologically different deaths (two of them murders, one ruled a suicide). An appealing maverick, Keane lives in a small mountain town near Boulder with two animal rescue dogs, collects old-time rock 'n' roll and country music tunes and likes to read philosophy. In his dogged effort to connect the three deaths, Keane butts heads with an old FBI nemesis and finds an occasional ally, as well as an unexpected rival. While the killer's identity turns out to be disappointingly ordinary, Cohen's writing style is direct and amazingly lucid, even when handling the concepts and applications of fractal geometry or outlining the tenets of Martin Heidegger. Readers looking for something refreshingly different should be well satisfied. Agent, Sandra Bond. (May 13) FYI: An earlier version of this novel was published in 2002 by Muddy Gap. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved