The Fractal Murders Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Fractal Murders

Mysterious, May 2004, 25.00, 320 pp.
ISBN: 0892967994

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.
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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

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Fractal Murders

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   science Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   scholar Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Super genius


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   West

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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