Eighth Circle

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
268 Pages
Reviewed on 06/06/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Theodore J. Cohen, PhD, holds three degrees in the physical sciences from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has been an engineer and scientist for more than forty-five years. He has been an investor for more than fifty years and most recently, has focused on investigating and reporting on corruption in US financial institutions and agencies of the US government. His last novel was Night Shadows, which dealt with the subjects of child abuse, teenage rape, and teen suicide. Prior to this he wrote the novels Lilith: Demon of the Night, based on a story about a New York vampire cult and House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales, a book inspired by real events related to the 2008 financial crisis precipitated by the housing bubble. An earlier novel of the same genre, Death by Wall Street: Rampage of the Bulls, focused on corruption within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the incompetence of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). From December 1961 through early March 1962, Dr. Cohen participated in the 16th Chilean Expedition to the Antarctic. The US Board of Geographic Names in October, 1964, named the geographical feature Cohen Islands, located at 63° 18' S. latitude, 57° 53' W. longitude in the Cape Legoupil area, Antarctica, in his honor. Dr. Cohen's Antarctic Murders Trilogy describes what happened following a robbery of the Banco Central de Chile in Talcahuano in May, 1960. The robbery and the events that took place primarily between May 1960 and March 1962, are described in Frozen in Time: Murder at the Bottom of the World (Book I). Unfinished Business: Pursuit of an Antarctic Killer (Book II) reveals the events that unfolded between March 1962 and March 1965. End Game: Irrational Acts, Tragic Consequences (Book III) takes place in 1965 and resolves most, but not all, of the issues raised in the series. The Trilogy now is available as one (Kindle) edition, Cold Blood. Dr. Cohen's first novel, Full Circle: A Dream Denied, A Vision Fulfilled, which is based on his life as a violinist, was published in 2009. Dr. Cohen at one time was a violinist with the Bryn Athyn (PA) Orchestra and particularly enjoys the music of Gustav Mahler. Finally, Dr. Cohen has published more than 450 papers, articles, columns, essays, and interviews, and is a co-author of The NEW Shortwave Propagation Handbook (from CQ Communications).

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite

Eighth Circle by Theodore Jerome Cohen is the fifth novel by this author featuring the inimitable Detective-Inspector Lou Martelli, and it is every bit as captivating as its predecessors in the series. Sprinkled with numerous documented factoids, Eighth Circle will take you on a fascinating journey of intrigue and organized crime in which Martelli and his partner, Sean O’Keeffe, once again face unyielding pressure from above, while confronting danger most foul, this time in NYC’s “Little Italy” enclave. Tapping into a wealth of NYPD expertise, Martelli gathers information about various parties of interest as he and O’Keeffe struggle to make sense of a seemingly random execution-style double homicide. The big question, though, is will Martelli survive this case, or has his good fortune finally abandoned him?

Eighth Circle is another brilliantly conceived and achieved fiction story based on actual events, as only Cohen can accomplish. Not unlike the late, great Louis L’Amour, when Cohen describes a building, a street, or a historical event, it actually exists as described. People familiar with New York City will no doubt be surprised to recognize some of the names and faces mentioned in Eighth Circle. With the frequent use of footnotes, Cohen provides not only documentation of his facts, but internet links to provide further information for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the history behind various aspects of the story. As always, this masterful blend of fact with fiction makes for a very entertaining story, with just enough truth to it to make the reader feel as if he is witnessing history in the making. I strongly recommend the entire series of Detective-Inspector Lou Martelli stories, but there is no need to read them in the order written; each is a stand-alone tale in its own right. Check out Eighth Circle for yourself and see if you don’t agree.

Gary Sorkin

For Pacific Book Review

When the Mayor of New York City’s grandson and the grandson’s wife are found shot, execution style, NYPD homicide Detective-Investigator Louis Martelli with his partner Sean O’Keeffe are put on the case. It is clearly a message to the Mayor from someone destined to eternity in Dante’s eighth of Nine Circles of Hell, which in the epic fable is resided by the winged Geryon monster with fraudulent ways of disingenuous nature. Hence, Theodore Jerome Cohen uses this metaphor to title the latest of Det. Louis Martelli’s case-adventures, Eighth Circle.

In typical “Cohen style,” the reader starts along with Det. Martelli at the same level - without a clue. The execution was a professional hit; the guns cleansed of their serial numbers and left behind with absolutely no evidence nor witnesses. Working on innate police instincts, Martelli enlists the help of Missy Dugan, a police department computer IT expert to seek out any impropriate item or graft by the Mayor which can somehow reveal who might have had a reason for murdering his family. Stumbling upon a property tax reassessment begins the thread of investigation. It seems as if someone made about $600,000 worth of improvements to the Mayor’s house for free.
In a fast moving, intelligent fashion, Det. Martelli “peels the onion” to the core of the relationships hidden deeply within the carefully covered-up tracks of fraud, pay-offs, and “favors” at the highest political levels in New York City on both sides of the moral fence – politicians and mobsters. Learning of their way of doing business, Cohen actually sets the morality of each of these dichotomized social leaders as being very similar regarding integrity; both corrupt, only one side is elected to office and the other is nepotic “family.”

As an iconic writing technique used by Dr. Cohen in many of his novels, he inserts a variety of footnotes explaining everything from the basis of jesting remarks to factual research throughout the book, resulting in a hybrid mix of educating readers along with a clearly fictional storyline. I find this makes for a unique type of reading genre, adding a strong foundation of credibility to the characters and situations. Coupled with a terse and poignant use of dialogue and cleverly human perceptions, the fast-paced book becomes a classic page-turner of enjoyment. Throughout the book Det. Louis Martelli interacts with colleagues and criminals alike, all with the utmost respect, politeness and restraint of his anger – even when the battle is brought personally to his home and family.

Although Eighth Circle can stand on its own merits for a complete novel, it is best to read this in the proper succession of the prior Det. Louis Martelli series of adventures. With remarkable events in his books paralleling the reality of real life situations in the news and current events, Theodore Cohen brings his stories to life under the belief that true events make for the best fiction.

Richard R. Blake

For Reader Views

In his new book “Eighth Circle” Theodore J. Cohen uses fiction as a tool to alert the reader to the dangers of graft, greed, and political corruption; using intrigue, creative imagination, and a unique writing style to draw the reader into an interactive entertaining reading experience. This is the fifth book in the Martelli series.

Stymied after months of investigation into the execution type murder of the grandson and wife, of New York City’s Mayor, Detective Louis Martelli and his partner Detective Sean O’Keeffe are given an ultimatum by Police Captain Hanlon, and a deadline for solving the case. The case had “ear marks of a mob hit.” A meeting with the doctor of the murdered young wife opened an unexpected lead and resulted in the late night arson on Martelli’s wife’s car. A chain of unexpected events from the past, bribes, under the table schemes, and mob revenge follow, keeping Martelli and his friends looking over their shoulders right up to the volatile conclusion.

Cohen has an amazing depth of understanding of police procedures and politics, hospital operations, and human nature. Careful research stimulated by newspaper headlines featuring political corruption, and mass murders is carefully documented and authenticate the accuracy of his careful descriptions of the New York City locale, investigative processes, and the vast resources available through computer access.

Cohen uses dialog effectively to move the plot and story line forward, keeping the reader on track. The action plot and ready-made script make “Eighth Circle” and the Martelli series ideal for movie adaptation. In a book series characters often take on personal feelings similar to those of real life friends and acquaintances. Cohen’s characters display a camaraderie, social interaction, respect and deep emotional concern for each other. In “Eighth Circle” there is evidence of growth in their personal confidence level and in their professional skill. Cohen adeptly uses description to create a “mood” which authenticates the setting with the plot. He also adds a bit of eccentric by detailing unusual physical quirks in appearance, in personality traits, ethnic accents, and his choice of vocabulary in describing his secondary characters.

“Eighth Circle” reads like an investigative reporting expose: action packed filled with drama, suspense, technology, psychopaths, corruption, and murder. Theodore J. Cohen’s writing just keeps getting better.