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The Chameleon's Shadow [Kindle Edition]

Minette Walters
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

When Lieutenant Charles Acland is flown home from Iraq with serious head injuries, he faces not only permanent disfigurement but also an apparent change to his previously outgoing personality.

Crippled by migraines, and suspicious of his psychiatrist, he begins to display sporadic bouts of aggression, particularly against women, especially his ex-fiancee who seems unable to accept that the relationship is over.

After his injuries prevent his return to the army, he cuts all ties with his former life and moves to London. Alone and unmonitored, he sinks into a private world of guilt and paranoid distrust . . . until a customer annoys him in a Bermondsey pub and he attracts the attention of local police investigating three murders which appear to have been motivated by extreme rage . . .

Under suspicion, Acland is forced to confront the real issues behind his isolation. How much control does he have over the dark side of his personality? Do his migraines contribute to his rages? Has he always been the duplicitous chameleon that his ex-fiancee claims?

And why – if he hates women – does he look to a woman for help?

Product Description


"Suspense-filled . . . This multi-layered story by England's best-selling female crime writer blends current events, the politics of sexual relationships and the development of personal identity into a psychologically compelling novel."
-"USA Today
""A Walters novel is like no other. She bases her books on facts gathered from real life [and] then embosses with her own painstaking research and fertile imagination . . . The revelations are astounding."
-"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"A sizzling psychological thriller."
-"Publishers Weekly
""Solid plotting, superb characterization, and fascinating information on traumatic brain injuries make this compelling thriller a sure winner . . . Walters' latest suspense tale mixes the creepiness of [an] old noir movie with a contemporary, ripped-from-the-headlines exploration of the aftereffects of traumatic brain injury on soldiers."
-"Booklist "(starred)
Praise from the UK & Canada:
"What marks Minette Walters out from the rest is not just the complex yet utterly convincing psychological profiles she draws of her characters, but the fact that she really gets into the heads of some disturbing people . . . No wonder she is the country's bestselling female crime writer. But even this label does not do justice to the scope and breadth of her gripping, terrifying novels. "The Chameleon's Shadow" is another classic."
-"The Mirror"
"Minette Walters is one of crime fiction's finest creators of character. That ability is on full show in this novel of trust and fear . . . All the characters are beautifully built, and Acland is a brilliant creation . . . If you like a character-driven crime novel with greatpsychological depth, you'll love "The Chameleon's Shadow,""
-"Globe and Mail "(Toronto)
"An accomplished psychological thriller . . . "The Chameleon's Shadow "is as frightening and as compulsively readable as Walters's previous novels, with as ingenious a plot."
-"Times Literary Supplement
""Minette Walters holds a unique place in crime fiction today. That's because she does so much more than produce tense crime thrillers . . . This is another page-turner and another novel which will deservedly take its place on the bestseller list."
-"Sunday Express"
"Minette Walters is an adventurous novelist . . . In "The Chameleon's Shadow," [she] leads us to the answer with her usual disturbing ability to look into damaged minds."
-"The Times "(London)
"A disturbing and fascinating thriller . . . Walters's characters ring true whether she's dealing with a career-obsessed young army officer, a teenage thief or a dirty old man edging towards senility."
-"The Spectator


"From the Hardcover edition."

Birmingham Post

'a remarkable, almost hypnotic book that pulls of the incredible trick of making the reader care for disturbed and highly dislikeable people. To do that takes rare skill.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 769 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307264637
  • Publisher: Pan (13 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050NJNL4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,572 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Minette Walters is England's bestselling female crime writer. She has won the CWA John Creasey Award for best first crime novel, the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best crime novel published in America and two CWA Gold Daggers for Fiction. Minette Walters lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
By Cando
Minette Walters' novels The Sculptress and The Shape of Snakes were crime classics. In this novel, Walters proves she can still grab readers by the scruff of the neck and make them turn the pages until the end. I couldn't put this book down. However...this was one that ultimately disappointed me, as was her last, The Devil's Feather. All the characters use the same vocabulary/diction. They all say 'PDQ' (pretty damn quick') rather a lot. The young squaddie in his early twenties talks nothing like any young man would talk, let alone a soldier. As in all Walters' novels, there is a gruff character who turns out to have a heart of gold. The solution to the mystery is utterly ludicrous - what the villain does, why he/she does it - it is impossible to take seriously. There is a weapon involved which is extremely rare and unlikely, but everyone seems instantly familiar with it, once it comes to light what it is - no one says, 'What's one of those, then?' Unfortunately, this takes all tension out of the book and makes the ending risible.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and unbelieveable 31 Aug. 2008
By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER
I've enjoyed the author's earlier books, but was disappointed by this one. I found the first third of the book got tedious with the endless descriptions of the injured soldier's bad temper and violent behaviour without much story to carry the book along. I kept feeling that many of the characters were ludicrous, not least the body-building GP. My faith in the author's accuracy over detail was dented by her putting "MD Psych" on the psychiatrist's headed notepaper as his professional qualification, maybe a minor point, but that's not a British qualification in psychiatry. Altogether, very disappointing.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great 10 Nov. 2007
Minette Walters is one of my favorite authors. I loved her first four books. After that something happened to her style of writing. I heard her say she wanted to write about politics and didn't want to do straight murder mysteries anymore. Anyway after that I've liked some of her books and others not so much. I have to say I was disappointed by this one. I've had it for months and still only gotten about halfway through it. Since I normally look forward to each of her books and devour them in one sitting that says something. I don't know what it is but I just can't get into it and I keep thinking that it sounds unrealistic and a little silly. It feels like Walters wants to describe a more urban, gritty dark world but maybe she hasn't got that much experience of it and that's why it doesn't work. Denise Mina does the dark underbelly of society much better. That kind of makes me think that Walters should stick to the upper middle class world that she knows instead and that makes me sad because I really want to like her.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag 8 April 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When Minette Walters first began her writing career, she produced several excellent novels, particularly 'The Sculptress', but since then she has never quite lived up to that early promise. Her later work has varied in quality from quite good ('The Dark Room') to pretty awful ('The Breaker', 'Acid Row'). Her latest, 'The Chameleon's Shadow', is a bit of a mixed bag; it's definitely an improvement on her previous book, 'The Devil's Feather' and it certainly kept me interested until the end (despite the fact that the killer is pretty obvious from early on), but a number of annoyances meant I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped.

Lt. Charles Ackland is the central figure in the book, a soldier injured in Iraq who has become prey to unbearable headaches and sudden explosions of temper which are most often directed towards women. Ms Walters attempts to keep us guessing about his true nature, showing his violent side and then revealing some of his difficult history, with which she clearly intends to engage our sympathy. The problem is that she makes Ackland so unpleasant early on - the man is a misogynist, a racist and a rapist - that even after learning what circumstances lay behind his behaviour I found it impossible to sympathise with him. Walters places a great deal of emphasis on his 'macho' qualities - physical strength, a high pain threshold, having 'guts' etc. - but none of these supposedly positive traits excuse the fact that he makes a vicious racist attack early on in the novel, and he physically assaults several women throughout the story (some of them aren't exactly likeable characters, but that's no excuse). Yet suddenly we are supposed to see him as an object of sympathy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 25 July 2008
Disapppointing. OK I am not a big fan of Walters'style of including some kind of memos, newspaper cuttings, reports into her fiction, designed in a different typo and setting etc. I always found it disturbing and more a distraction from the novel than an addition to it. Anyway, this book is in itself disappointing and thrilling in one go. Sounds strange but that's how it felt to me during reading this story around Lt. Acland, terribly wounded Iraq war soldier returning to the UK after having seen two of his men die in a bombing. He is a very unsympathetic character and the acquaintances he makes on the way during this story are imho too overdrawn too larger than life and through that design almost discriminating some special groups of people. The guilty person comes of course out in the end and I will not disclose here who it is but why this person has done the murders is not made clear, the end is written in a rush after the book drips on for ages. Still, an interesting read, but do not expect too much from it, especially if you have read the early Minette Walters books that were far more better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read very unusual storyline
Published 5 months ago by Poppy
5.0 out of 5 stars Seller good!
Very good book good condition
Published 7 months ago by Michelle
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit disappointed.
I was disappointed with this. In the usual way I am a great fan of this author but I didn't enjoy this plot very much.
Published 7 months ago by Muffet
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad Shadow
I have to agree with the 2 and 3 star reviewers, this book is a sad shadow of what has come before from the usually excellent Ms Walters. Read more
Published 8 months ago by nickyb
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story
Excellent narrative and particularly effective psychological profile of the "hero". Ultimately, I was not convinced by the ending. Read more
Published 18 months ago by pjf
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC
Read this book once before (and all of Minette Walters books) in paperback but had to get it again, Fantastic book
Published on 17 Mar. 2013 by DaveD
3.0 out of 5 stars Chameleon's shadow
Minetter Walters is an experienced and highly intelligent thriller writer. This particular book was not one of my favourites. Read more
Published on 1 Mar. 2013 by Mrs Susan C Wales
4.0 out of 5 stars The Chameleon's Shadow
I always enjoy Minette Walters books,but this with this book I was guessing until the end., will recomend it to my friends .
Published on 30 Jan. 2013 by peggy denty
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best book
I really liked Minette Walters' early books, Scold's bridle and The Sculptress in particular, but I really didn't enjoy this one. Read more
Published on 16 May 2012 by jo
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
As with all Minette Walters novels, this book is a very satisfying read, with a good plot and well developed characters.
Published on 9 Mar. 2012 by matep
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