The Fractal Murders

by Mark Cohen

Year published: 2004
Category: mystery; series (#1)


University math professor Jayne Smyers notes the improbability of three experts in the small field of fractal geometry all dying in a short time. She asks Boulder, Colorado private investigator Pepper Keane to look into the deaths, which appear to have nothing else in common.


First, let me explain that I’m not giving this book a star rating because it’s a mystery through and through, with nary a nod to the thriller genre. I don’t normally read mysteries, so I am not qualified to compare this book to others in its genre.

I chose to read and review The Fractal Murders, however, because math is a central part of the plot. Don’t be scared—author Mark Cohen keeps the technical stuff at a level that everyone can enjoy, while also using/explaining fractals correctly. If you like popular science, popular math, or puzzles, this is a good mystery for you.

The Fractal Murders is a nicely constructed, straightforward mystery spiced with lots of local Colorado color. In this book, sentences are short, speech is direct; every male character is described by height and weight; connections between characters are simply defined by blood or school attendance. There is a mild love interest between Pepper Keane and the professor. Plenty of good old-fashioned detective work steadily leads to the truth. Ultimately, Cohen’s book does not disappoint.

Great choice for: expatriates from Boulder, Colorado

Mark Cohen’s Pepper Keane mysteries:
The Fractal Murders (2004); Bluetick Revenge (2005)

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