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The Chameleon's Shadow
The Chameleon's Shadow - Minette Walters
Member Name: MollyWH
The Chameleon's Shadow - Minette Walters
Advantages: Gripping from the start, interesting characters
Disadvantages: Thought the ending may have been more explosive
I recently had all my shifts changed at work which means that I ended up working 6 weeks of nights - ouch! Knowing that work was going to be quiet and therefore fairly boring, I asked my Dad to recommend me a couple of good books. The Chameleon's Shadow by Minette Walters was one of them.
Minette Walters is often referred to as the 'queen of the psychological thriller' and after reading several of her books, you will see that this is a title she deserves. The Chameleon's Shadow is her 12th psychological thriller. Some of her other books include Acid Row, Fox Evil, The Ice House, The Sculptress and The Dark Room. Some of her stories have been turned into films or TV series.
Lieutenant Charles Acland life is literally turned upside down when a roadside bomb hits his vehicle while they are serving in Iraq. His colleagues are killed and Charles is left with horrific injuries, most of them affecting one side of his face.
As Charles recovers in hospital, he realises that he remembers very little about the last few weeks of his life. Slowly, certain things start to come back to him and he starts trying to piece his life together. He is assessed by a psychologist who is sure that Charles should be in much more pain than he seems to be and is amazed that he doesn't really seem too mentally affected by the trauma he has been through.
Once he is released from hospital, Charles decides to live in London where he pretty much lives the life of a recluse. It soon becomes clear to Charles that his personality has been changed by the accident he was involved in. His friends and colleagues describe him as a 'happy go lucky lad' but the Charles we meet seems very different from this description. One day, while Charles is having a drink, he becomes involved in a fight in the pub and is looked after by a butch weight lifting female doctor who everyone called Jackson.
Meanwhile, the local police are investigating the murders of several homosexuals in the area and Charles name seems to keep popping up. Charles was living in the area when the murders first began and they are continuing now he is back in the area - has the accident totally changed Charles and made him act out of character, is it a coincidence is Charles just pretending that he doesn't remember certain things??
I found myself quickly becoming interested in all the characters we are introduced to in this book. Charles is quite a harsh character, he's rude and arrogant yet as a reader, you still feel some sort of empathy for the guy.
Jackson is another character that I found interesting as she never really gives much away throughout the entire book so you are always left questioning her character and wondering if she has a motive.
You also meet two psychologists throughout the book and although their characters are not major parts in the book, I feel that they bring quite a lot of thought to the book as their ideas and theories on the trauma Charles has suffered opens up all sorts of questions!
When I first flicked through the book, I was a little disappointed to see that it began with a newspaper clipping which was then followed by a medical report on Charles. I have read other books that are written in the style and have found them to be difficult to follow. However, with the Chameleon's Shadow, it actually turned out to be quite effective. The while book does not follow this pattern though and there is plenty of normal pages in-between the various report, emails etc.
This story had me gripped from the very first page so I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who finds it hard to get into a book. I think all the mystery that surrounds Charles at the beginning of the book instantly as the reader gripped as you just want to find out more about him. I must admit that I like books with twists and turns in them and although there are a few of them in this book, I did feel that there could have been more and the ending of the story was not as exciting as I thought it may have been.
Having said that, this book had me gripped from the very beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Summary: The Chameleon's Shadow