Bob Cohen is a psychologist and educator who has lived in Sedona for nearly five years. He moved here with his wife from Richmond, Virginia, where he worked at the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University and his wife was chef and owner of Café Mandolin, a fine dining restaurant.
His newest book, Ferson's Betrayal, was published in March by Zharmae Press. This is the third in the Marty Fenton Mystery Novel Series. The other books in the series are Majorski's Ghost and Hammond's Choice.
When Marty Fenton's professor asks him to look into the death of a civil rights activist in the 1960s, he is not sure where to begin. Fenton, a 40-year-old graduate student in psychology at Syracuse University who moonlights as a private investigator, has worked on some challenging mysteries but has never worked on a case that occurred before he was born .
As he delves into the death of Hattie Ferson he encounters some interesting people who were involved with her in the protest movement in Syracuse. He learns about civil rights activity in Central New York during that era and becomes enthralled with Hattie, a charismatic and enigmatic figure who appeared to be a woman whose commitment to the cause of civil rights was matched by her desire to be intimate with the men in the movement.
From the accounts of the individuals Marty speaks with it is apparent that she had a strong impact on the people she worked with. Although he identifies several potential suspects, Marty's investigation keeps leading him down blind alleys as he tries to find Hattie's killer. When he finally discovers the circumstances of her death he is surprised and disturbed.
Marty, who enrolled in graduate school after a 20-year hiatus from academia, is having a difficult time with his graduate studies. After two years of struggling with the mysteries of statistics and research methodology he has just completed his Master's thesis and is currently working on his dissertation proposal.
In addition to trying to find out who killed Hattie, he is also helping Lou DeSantis, his police lieutenant friend, discover who was responsible for the hit-and-run care crash that nearly killed Lou's teenage children. When he isn't studying or sleuthing Marty is concerned with nurturing his long-distance relationship with Faith Pasternak, whom he met on his last case after his sculptor/bodybuilder girl friend broke up with him.
Faith is a lawyer from Northampton, Massachusetts who lost the use of her legs after her own horrific automobile accident that killed her husband and young son.
In addition to engaging the reader in unraveling the puzzle of Hattie's death, this book provides a snapshot of Syracuse in the 1960s and the way in which discrimination manifested itself in this mid-size Central New York city.
The novel describes how the civil rights movement, primarily associated with the South, attempted to confront prejudice in the North. This book also offers a glimpse into what happened to the activists during the ensuing forty plus years. Some individuals remained committed to the core values of the civil rights movement while others followed a different course.
The protagonist of this story, Marty Fenton, is not your conventional hard-boiled PI. He is neither a macho, gun-wielding hero nor a brilliant, quirky Sherlock Holmes-like investigator. He is a fairly average guy with a penchant for working on puzzles and a fair amount of self-doubt who relies on patience, persistence an inquiring mind and a quirky sense of humor to solve the cases his professor asks him to tackle.
Ferson's Betrayal can be purchased in a Kindle or paperback version through Amazon