Wheel of Fortune


Fiction - Thriller - General
324 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2014
Buy on Amazon

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, Eighth Circle: A Special Place in Hell, was inspired by incidents of major political corruption in New York City. A previous novel, Night Shadows, 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 has been published in a single (Kindle) volume, 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 400 papers, articles, columns, essays, and interviews, and is a co-author of The NEW Shortwave Propagation Handbook (from CQ Communications). For more information on Dr. Cohen and his novels, the interested reader is invited to view the book descriptions, photographs, and videos that can be found at <www.theodore-cohen-novels.com>.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite

Wheel of Fortune by Theodore Jerome Cohen raises the bar for aspiring writers of police fiction. NYPD Detectives Lou Martelli and Sean O'Keeffe join forces with the FBI to take on the Lupinacci mob family, as two seemingly unrelated cases begin to focus on a single prime suspect. Staying below the radar, the two agencies pair some of their best operatives to formulate and enact a sting against a mob boss complicit in multiple murders, arson, and a long list of lesser, but still serious, criminal activities. Once again, Martelli places himself in harm's way to Serve and Protect the innocent, but this time he may have bitten off a bit too much. Outnumbered by armed mobsters, relieved of his weapon, and marched deep into a remote wooded area, Martelli faces the possibility that he may have reached the end of the line.

Wheel of Fortune is a captivating tale of good versus evil played out on a grand scale. The story line is almost too involved to be wholly fictional, and much of the detail is indeed documented fact. As Cohen's fans have learned to expect, the story is liberally sprinkled with links to relevant additional information of interest. As Cohen's fans have also come to expect, the story is fascinating and fresh, as if taken from the headlines of today's newspapers. Cohen's 'Detective Martelli' stories are always great entertainment, and Wheel of Fortune is sure to delight readers, whether they be new to Martelli or seasoned veterans of his exploits. Add one more mark to Cohen's 'winner' column.

Gary Sorkin

For Pacific Book Review

Author Theodore Jerome Cohen creates a new definition to “Taking out the trash” in his latest novel Wheel of Fortune, a Det. Louis Martelli mystery/suspense thriller.

The trash business, notoriously run by the mob, is expanding from New York City to the outlying areas of York and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and in its wake dead bodies are turning up. When the corpse of a stunning young lady is discovered in the park across from the NYC FBI Headquarters, shot in the back of her head execution style, Det. Louis Martelli and his partner Det. Sean O’Keeffe are put on the case. The victim has no identification and the fingerprints turn up no record – however a unique shoulder to shoulder tattoo on her back, an image known as the “Wheel of Fortune,” is the only clue Martelli has to begin the investigation.

The plot thickens when Martelli sees Ron Bishop, an associate from the FBI, leaving the scene of the dead lady’s apartment, apparently being involved with the deceased in either a professional or personal way. Devising a scheme to open the investigation, Martelli brings in the beauty and talent of Missy Dugan, NYPD investigator and cyber expert, to help gain access to the victim’s safe deposit box, discovering the threads of relationship tying together the mob and the FBI. Later, when brought into a joint NYPD/FBI undercover sting operation, Martelli “smokes” out the infestation of the mob into a climax true to the Cohen style of incredible events told credibly, by igniting the emotional mental weakness in its psychopathic gangster leader into a showdown.

Having read all the previous Det. Louis Martelli escapades, I found the characters and environment in Wheel of Fortune like being among old friends. Cohen peels the onion on embellishing the background and interactions of the characters from prior novels, and reveals new facts of their personalities for the ardent fans of the series to enjoy. Although Cohen in unassuming in his understanding his reader’s prior knowledge of characters, he explains (or reminds) the readers of how the people are tied together, as well as his characteristic style of throwing in some footnotes to exemplify the meaning of certain dialogue.

Interlacing colorful characters, witty dialogue, chivalrous behavior of Martelli, along with extensive research into the minutia of details of the trash industry and locations, Cohen creates a visual reading experience. Guaranteed to captivate and satisfy the readers by his use of short snippets of chapters, each with an impressively clever lead sentence and a thought provoking ending. The fast pace chapters create an exciting and entertaining read. One can clearly appreciate the fact Cohen is a virtuoso in writing techniques, and the Det. Louis Martelli Series is destined to become a favorite of all that pick up or click through Wheel of Fortune.

Krista Schnee

For Hollywood Book Review

Five our of Five Stars

For NYPD Det. Louis Martelli, this was no ordinary case. He was a seasoned detective and veteran of the war in Iraq, but this homicide troubled him. To see such a young and beautiful woman murdered hit home to him as a parent. With no identification found with her body, beginning the investigation was difficult; yet there was one clue which would seem all too appropriate as the case progressed, that of the large tattoo of the “Wheel of Fortune” on the victim's back. In order to find all possible resources for beginning this investigation, Det. Martelli sought the assistance of Missy Dugan, computer IT specialist working for the NYPD, as well as a friendly colleague having a mutually respectful relationship.

Dugan's expertise in cyber-investigation along with pounding the beat with old fashioned police work, in this case in the area of tattoo artistry, led them to discover the name of the victim, Nicole Davis. Visiting her apartment with his partner, Det. Sean O'Keeffe, Martelli was surprised to see Ron Bishop, an FBI agent and someone with whom Martelli has had somewhat difficult encounters, coincidentally emerging from the address prior to their visit. Indeed, Bishop and Martelli had a rather adversarial working relationship in the past, with Bishop once shooting Martelli in the leg – luckily his prosthetic leg. The presence of the FBI, in particular Ron Bishop, involved with his current work inside the FBI mob taskforce, prompted Martelli to suspect Davis' murder was indeed a mob hit. Nothing added up, though, in the way Davis died, as it seemed someone used her assassination to send a message to the FBI. As details emerged about her past romantic involvement with Tommie Lupinacci, a mobster and head of a cartage association, Martelli must use all of his resources and his own wiles to catch her killer.

With this latest installment in the Detective Louis Martelli series, Theodore Jerome Cohen does not disappoint. His most recent novel, Wheel of Fortune, is a fast-paced, intelligent mystery. Cohen skillfully ties the various plot elements together, creating a story that stands out from the large crowd of books available in the genre. The story itself seems almost a combination of two types of mysteries: the whodunit and the police-procedural. It certainly incorporates the best of both types of storylines while avoiding excessive lingo and graphic, bloody details. Regarding character development, Cohen has populated his novel with smart, mature characters with depth, an aspect sometimes missing from mysteries, especially thrillers. These combinations of elements, both in plot and character development, definitely make this book enjoyable.

Readers of all kinds will be sure to enjoy Wheel of Fortune. With its intricate plot development and action, it will certainly attract those wanting a fun read. The whodunit features of the story, terse and direct dialog, more mature characters, and some old-fashioned detective work, will make this a nice change of pace for those lovers of cozy mysteries wanting a change from the slower, quieter mysteries that characterize the mystery genre. Finally, it is an extremely well-written novel, which sets it heads above the rest of much of the crowd of books today. Whatever the reader's background or favorite genre, they will find much to love about Theodore Cohen's Wheel of Fortune, inevitably becoming a fan of the Det. Louis Martelli series of mystery/suspense novels.

Michel Violante

For Reader Views

“Wheel of Fortune” by Theodore Jerome Cohen begins with a meeting between NYPD Detective Louis Martelli and the deputy coroner. Martelli hopes to get information on the beautiful Jane Doe found dead in Thomas Paine Park across from the FBI’s Federal Plaza building in New York City, only to find that other than the bullet hole in the back of her head, the body is clean. There was nothing to go on except for her tattoo – the multi-colored tarot card ‘Wheel of Fortune’ tattooed on her back. Martelli starts his investigation by locating the tattoo artist who did the work, from whom he learns the victim’s name is Nicole. As the plot continued to unfold I found myself turning pages faster and faster as I sat on the edge of my seat. The mystery becomes a web of suspense that involves the mob, the FBI, the victim, and people involved in the trash hauling business in Lancaster and York, PA. The interesting plot and main character, Martelli, are the best parts of this read.

Having read few of his earlier books, I already expected a great read from Cohen, and I was not disappointed! On the contrary, Cohen’s interesting plots and character development skills are like a fine wine, getting better and better with each new book. The pace, setting, and genuine characters, combined with current topics and plots filled with suspense and action, make Cohen’s stories a thrilling ride. His writing style makes his books entertaining “must reads,” and this is true again with “Wheel of Fortune.” I found myself getting more interested as I read on to the point that the book was hard to put down.

“Wheel of Fortune” is another amazing mystery from Theodore Jerome Cohen! The book is one that I recommend as a Five-Star read. I look forward to another Martelli Mystery! “Wheel of Fortune” is truly a suspense-wheel that will keep rolling in the reader's mind long after the book is put down.