House Of Cards

Dead Men Tell No Tales

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
272 Pages
Reviewed on 05/10/2014
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 45 years. He has been an investor for more than 50 years, and most recently has focused on investigating and reporting on corruption in US financial institutions and agencies of the US government. House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which was inspired by the collapse of the US financial markets in 2008, brings back NYPD Homicide Detective Louis Martelli, the hero he introduced in Death by Wall Street: Rampage of the Bulls. 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. His Antarctic Murders Trilogy describes what happened following a robbery of the Banco Central de Chile in Talcahuano in May, 1960. Dr. Cohen's first novel, Full Circle: A Dream Denied, A Vision Fulfilled, is based on his life as a violinist. He also has authored more than 400 papers, columns, essays, and interviews for the popular, scientific, and technical literature.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite

House of Cards by Dr. Theodore Jerome Cohen is the second of Cohen’s novels featuring NYPD Detective Louis Martelli. When a prominent philanthropist and CEO of a major Wall Street Investment firm is gunned down in Times Square, Martelli is assigned to the case. For reasons not yet clear, the FBI suddenly appears on the scene, demanding NYPD turn over the case to them. The Mayor and Police Commissioner reject the FBI’s ‘request,’ agreeing only to work cooperatively with them. As more bodies begin to turn up, Martelli discovers the common denominator linking the murders. When he learns the FBI is withholding information, Martelli wisely decides to not trust his FBI contact, and moves ahead with the investigation. But this time, he might have bitten off more than he can chew. He’s making some mighty powerful people angry and some of them will stop at nothing to get their way. There is an excellent chance he won’t live to the end of the book. Will this be the final Cohen story featuring Martelli?

House of Cards is another gem from the brilliant imagination of Dr. Cohen. As with his other novels, Cohen valiantly researched the background setting for House of Cards, tying fact and fiction together in a manner that can only be described as genius. I do have one complaint, though: Detective Martelli is only a part of the fiction. America could use a few Martellis right now. In that vein, I zealously urge you to read House of Cards, as well as Cohen’s other novels. The facts behind the fiction need to become widely known. Dr. Cohen’s exceptional Martelli novels are a most enjoyable way to learn those facts. Somebody needs to be held accountable, and you, the reader, can help make that happen. Read House of Cards by Dr. Theodore Jerome Cohen, and tell your friends to do the same. They will thank you.

Gary Sorkin

For Pacific Book Review

Spiced with the flavor of New York City like a Sabrett hot dog bought from a push cart outside Macy’s on 34th Street, NYPD Detective Louis Martelli peels the onion investigating the murder of a wealthy socialite Matthew B. Richardson III. Shot at point blank range in Times Square on Halloween by an assassin dressed as a pirate, all of the signs of a professional hit were blatantly obvious once the assassin himself appears to have been ‘disposed of’ immediately following the ‘hit’. So begins House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the latest action-packed suspense novel of the exploits of the big city detective Louis Martelli, by Theodore Jerome Cohen.

An inherent characteristic of Theodore Jerome Cohen’s books are they educate while they entertain, and House of Cards is no exception. The reader is expertly brought into the workings of the mortgage loan bust, where irresponsible home loans were bought and packaged into large investment paper portfolios, misrepresented as to their risk and sold to investors and capital managers worldwide. Some investors caught wind of this, and the lucky ones purchased ‘insurance’ from companies such as AIG to mitigate their risk. When the pop of the financial bubble caused losses to Main Street requiring the Federal government to bail out the insurance companies and Wall Street, the crooked investment bankers took the money and ran, paying themselves record bonuses in the process. With more wealth generated by fraudulent white collar criminals than has been generated since the beginning of our country, it was easy for the Street’s gangsters—banksters, really—to seek their share. Like moths to a flame, the situation burned up all who got too close.

Louis Martelli is used to working between the administrative lines while staying off the police department’s radar. Cohen brings his character to a new level of shady integrity, having him become a self-appointed judge and jury of right and wrong, good and bad. The circuitous course of events leads to a childhood friend, and their destinies collide in a dramatic climax of fate. Like poker, it’s all in the luck of the draw, unless you have the deck stacked and know how to cheat!

I found Theodore Jerome Cohen’s references and remarks show him to be a mature analogist. His style is not unlike that found in classic novels by authors such as the late Michael Crichton, or Dan Brown, or even Tom Clancy. Heavily laden with terse, poignant dialog as well as street-smart observations, the reader gets easily drawn into the book; both effortlessly and willingly. Before you know it, the book has more pages on the left side then the right, and you just can’t put it down until you see what’s going to happen next.

Having grown up in New York, I found the references to Brooklyn to be personally nostalgic, but like a good pastrami sandwich, you don’t have to be a New Yorker to enjoy one. This book would be as good on the commuter trains out of Penn Station as it would on the beaches of Cozumel or poolside in Hollywood. The appeal of House of Cards is universal to all readers, and as with any great hero, Louis Martelli lives on to fight another battle. Should you think I’m giving away the ending, all I can say is the most famous of NY expressions, “What’s it to ya?”

Marty Shaw

For Reader Views

A seemingly random murder on Halloween leads Detective Louis Martelli into an elaborate conspiracy that threatens more than just the financial security of the world, as the FBI tries to keep him from learning the truth.

“House of Cards: Dead Men Tell No Tales” has a plot that was ripped from the headlines and then blended together with the colorful characters that were first introduced in “Death by Wall Street: Rampage of the Bulls.” Martelli and his IT assistant, Missy Dugan, are once again using their combined expertise to dig through the lies and uncover the bad guys.

Martelli is probably one of my all-time favorite crime-fiction heroes because he's a good cop, but he's not perfect. He's the type of guy that believes in the law, but he also believes that laws can be bent a little bit if the end result is justice being served. Missy Dugan, his partner in both law and illegal activities, is a feisty counter to Martelli's gruff demeanor, providing more than one laugh with her verbal sparring against Martelli. She might not be pounding the pavement with Martelli, but she's definitely an essential member of his team.

The plot moves at a steady pace, and Cohen provides plenty of depth and description to the story, allowing the reader to easily get lost within the pages. The machinations of Wall Street and the banking industry play an integral part in the storyline, and I am far from being a Wall Street guru. Fortunately, an in-depth understanding of the industries is not required because Cohen is able to walk a fine line that allows him to provide the necessary information in an easy-to-understand manner without actually talking down to us. The story took a couple of unexpected twists that I didn't see coming, keeping me thoroughly engrossed in the book as Martelli does what he has to do to uncover the truth. The FBI, depicted as the bane of local police in numerous works of fiction, are up to their old tricks once again, hoping to keep „the little people‟ in the dark because there's no way they could understand „the big picture.‟ The only complaint I have about the story is that Martelli's partner, Sean O'Keeffe, didn't play a larger role. I understand that Martelli and Dugan are the main characters, and I wouldn't dream of destroying that chemistry, but O'Keeffe often seemed to exist just so Martelli would have someone to talk to. I'm not saying the crime-solving duo needs to be turned into a trio but I think, for future stories, it would be best if O'Keeffe either had a beefier role or just went away completely.

If you enjoy the "ripped-from-the-headline‟ stories of shows like Law & Order, then you should definitely take a ride with Lou Martelli and Missy Dugan. They'll keep you educated, informed, and entertained all at the same time.