Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Chameleon's Shadow by Minette Walters

The Chameleon's Shadow My Rating: 4 stars Read: January 2009 Sub-Genre: Psychological Thriller Pages: 385 This is not just a mystery or thriller - Minette Walters has the ability to take current social & psychological issues and build a convincing story around them. The Chameleon's Shadow is a strong narrative of investigation from both a law enforcement & medical view point. Lieutenant Charles Acland returns from Iraq with horrific physical and psychological scars. Recovering from serious head injuries received in a roadside bomb attack, he now suffers from debilitating migraines, sudden explosions of anger, is deeply resentful, dislikes physical contact and is intolerant of the unwanted attentions of women. Lt Acland's inability to handle his anger puts him under suspicion for the the brutal bashing of an elderly man & the murders of 3 men bludgeoned to death in their own home. Charles Acland is scary & unpredictible but Walters manages to garner my sympathy for this prickly and initially unlikeable character. Lt Acland is befriended by the (hmm)unlikely character Jackson, a weight-lifting lesbian GP who moonlights as a bouncer at her girlfriend's bar. This formidable woman is "incapable of mollycoddling anyone, tells it how it is, refuses to tiptoe around prissy sensibilities, and gains respect as a result." In other words she is quite adorable! Walters also introduces a number of other key characters, Jen Morley, Charles's ex-fiance, Detective Superintendent Brian Jones lead investigator of the murders, an obnoxious teenage runaway named Ben and an alcoholic homeless veteran called chalky. I thoroughly enjoyed Walters character development and her trademark use of newspaper reports, emails & memos throughout the book. There are no obvious giveaways, but a steady connection of coincidences & facts lead the police and the reader to the perpetrator. The number of coincidences becomes a bit much towards the end of the novel and there is very little suspense but Walters successfully conveys the frightening complexity of human relationships. If you like this review vote for it on Goodreads

1 comment:

  1. I liked this thriller by Minette Walters, but not as much as her debut, "The Ice House". That one is a real favourite of mine :)
    Walters writes very different books, experiments with sub-genres, themes etc, and sometimes she does it so well, but the quality varies, I think.


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