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The Fractal Murders

por Mark Cohen

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1115189,953 (3.09)1
Learning that three instructors who were researching fractals have died under mysterious circumstances, fractal geometry professor Jane Smythe turns for help to former marine and private investigator Pepper Keane.
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    The Last Policeman por Ben H. Winters (JanesList)
    JanesList: I can't explain quite why, but these two detectives remind me of each other.
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Mostrando 5 de 5
A breezy and enjoyable mystery, with an unexpected ending. ( )
  Liabee | Jul 16, 2013 |
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 character, with a cast of equally interesting friends and family. Right now there is only one other book in the series and I can't wait to read it. ( )
  bookswoman | Mar 31, 2013 |
fun read. ( )
  KKG | Jan 3, 2010 |
The Fractal Murders gets its name from Fractal Geometry, a branch of mathematics that attempts to tame and measure seemingly random variations in such things as coastlines and stock market prices. A mathematician at the University of Colorado, a specialist in Fractal Geometry, finds that three other specialists in this tiny field have died under mysterious circumstances, and she hires a private investigator when the FBI brushes her off. It sounds like an academic mystery, but really it’s a procedural—not a police procedural, but a private investigator procedural.
The author is Mark Cohen—no relation of mine—and he took to heart the old advice: “write about what you know.” His detective, Pepper Keane, lives in Nederland, Colorado, in the mountains above Boulder—so does the author. Pepper Keane was a marine in the Judge Advocate General office; Cohen was an Air Force Judge Advocate. Keane practiced law for while and then gave it up to buy a house in the mountains and start a small private investigating business. Cohen lives in a house in the mountains but still practices law in Boulder.
Procedurals get their interest from the details of a developing investigation. Unlike the hard-boiled type of mystery story, where the hero is often literally hit on the head with clues, and unlike the Sherlock Holmes type mystery, where the solution comes in a series of brilliant deductions, procedurals move slowly, and we have time to meet the main character and his friends, time to learn about his past and sympathize with his attempts to get close to the romantic interest—which in this book is an attractive math professor.
Meanwhile we get some local color about Boulder and the surrounding mountains. This is a first book for Cohen, and probably not as smooth as it could be. But it has some exciting moments and a nice twist to the plot at the end.
If you like the main character, you’ll like the book. Pepper Keane is a complicated character, an ex-Marine with a short haircut who’s a vegetarian and a sucker for animals, a man who likes exercising with a heavy bag and serious sparring with his brother and other jocks, but who is also working his way through Heidegger’s Being and Time, one difficult page at a time, because he’s still looking for answers to the big questions and because reading philosophy seems to help counter his depression ( )
  michaelm42071 | Sep 3, 2009 |
Pepper Keane, lawyer turned detective, is asked to find the connection between the deaths of three experts on fractals. I had hoped that the answer to the mystery would be fractal in some way, but fractals are the McGuffin. There is an interesting book by Norbert Weiner that also deals with the reason for the crimes in the story; in his book, no one is killed and the story is more interesting.

The author sizes up new characters by what they wear and how much makeup they have on; rather like Robert Parker, but with fewer recipes. Ramen noodles are mentioned; this is interesting because of a 2009 Time magazine article that talks about Internet businesses that provide only enough income to keep you ramen noodles. Pepper Keane suffers from depression, which he keeps under control with medication and occasional therapy; he's also killed a man, but was found innocent of manslaughter.

Some nicely bad puns. The two significant women in his life have first names starting with J; the three less significant ones involved with the case have last names starting with M. He tends to make a statement that makes you ask for more detail and then he provides the detail. There is probably some good literary term for this style of writing; I don't know what it is. ( )
  raizel | Aug 13, 2009 |
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When we were twenty-one, Scott and I had hitchhiked to the Texas Gulf Coast over spring break. By the time we reached our destination, we were pathetically low on funds. We camped in state parks and lived on ramen noodles. Whenever one of us wanted to spend money on something unnecessary, the other would say, "Hey, that's a lot of ramen." It became a unit of currency. A six-pack of beer was twenty-five packs of ramen.
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Learning that three instructors who were researching fractals have died under mysterious circumstances, fractal geometry professor Jane Smythe turns for help to former marine and private investigator Pepper Keane.

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