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The Chameleon's Shadow

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,677 ratings  ·  277 reviews
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. After his injuries prevent his return to the army, he cuts all ties with his former life and moves to London.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by MacMillan (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,677 ratings  ·  277 reviews

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Nov 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kasia by: Seth Ball
Bloody awesome.

Ok not bloody, there's no gore in it, no graphic details. But still awesome.

If you've been looking for a quality follow-up to the Stieg Larsson's Millenium series, something a bit like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and yet highly original - this is it.

Matter of fact style, incredible the psychological depth, keeps you guessing till the very end. For a moment there I was damn convinced my favourite character was the psychokiller. That gave me quite a high. Then you have great
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of psychological thrillers
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
Tory Wagner
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, british
Minette Walters is a well known and awarded British author who always creates a well written story. In The Chameleon's Shadow, we meet British lieutenant Charles Acland who is returning home from Iraq after receiving a devastating and disfiguring injury during battle. He is uncharacteristically suspicious of everyone and often hostile. This is especially true of his relationship with his ex-fiancee and parents, but all who encounter him are on the receiving end of his aggression. Acland becomes ...more
Tanja Berg
Rating 2* out of 5. This is a book I chose not to pick up for years, although the author used to be one of my favorites. I wish I would have left this in the "let's not read" pile, but no, I had changed my mind.

The main problem with this book is the lack of sympathetic characters. Charles Acland returns from service in Iraq a changed man. His looks have been ruined and his temper is terrible. He's recent memory is shattered. His ex girlfriend Jen doesn't even hear that he's back and when they
Laura Tenfingers
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, book-club
I quite enjoyed this who-done-it. I wasn't sure about a book with a returning soldier as a main character, but it worked well and I was in his corner even though he was a fair bit unlikeable, like most of the characters in this book. The body-building dyke mobile doctor? seemed a bit far fetched, but hey, there's one of everything in this best of all possible worlds.
Minette Walters's books are more about psychological portraits rather than the crime itself. The tale of a UK soldier damaged in the Iraq War and then suspected of horrific murders in England sounds perfect for Walters. Alas, this is a little bit of a misfire.

Although she normally creates compelling characters, The Chameleon's Shadow is hampered by some less than believable characterization. The book has Walters's usual twists of the plot yet the ending, weighted with coincidences, is
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this read - I was led up the garden path then back to the gate and wandered around the edges until finally arriving at the door.
I acknowledge that I'm rubbish at the 'guess whodunnit' game but it was so good to try anyway. I must have guessed wrongly at least five times - two of which were the same character.
The plot was easy enough to follow, and it had the right amount of maturity, grit and controversial characters to hold my interest and make me think.
Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm a latecomer and new fan of Minette Walters. I don't know how I missed her many award winning crime novels, but in the short time since I discovered them, all I can say is I'm hooked. Lucky for me Walters has written thirteen novels thus far so I've got lots to choose from. The latest, Chameleon's Shadow is a winner.It all begins when Lieutenant Charles Acland is sent home from Iraq after a bombing in which two of his friends are killed in action. Prior to his tour he broke up with his ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
My wife's a huge fan of Minette Walters. Ironically, I really haven't delved much into her work because the blurbs always make them seem really depressing. It's true that my own tastes in hard-boiled and noir crime fiction hardly makes for cheery reading. However, at some level, it's possible to rationalise these stories as exercises in existential despair situated in a Manichean parallel universe, a Planet: Sin City, only written by better authors than Miller. Walters' novels seem a little too ...more
Oct 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
I read this new Minette Walters in about 3 days. If I had have had more time - I would have finished in a few hours.
It is classic Minette Walters, she spins out the suspense from the first page to the last. You are never quite certain whether her main character "Lieutenant Charles Ackland" is what he appears to be - or if there are dark secrets lurking. I can't say any more or it would ruin the plot!
Walters also creates a very likeable character in "Jackson" the doctor/lesbian weightlifter! Who
Asghar Abbas
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it

This is Walters being on top of her Game.
Kaethe Douglas
Walters is really good at creating unlikable characters and making them sympathetic and fully realized.
Bev Taylor
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
charles has suffered severe head injuries during his service in iraq and also been disfigured

he has a long stay in hospital, finally refusing any more surgery and seeing a psychiatrist to help him over anger issues and also how he always puts himself in solitary, avoiding any contact with any other persons

his ex-fiancee claims he is like a chameleon that she did her utmost to understand and help

when a customer annoys him in a pub in london he attracts the attention of the police who r
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
I stopped reading Minette Walters because her books became too “out there” but ironically, this one was too linear. Nothing surprising, no twists or turns. Too bad.
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-good-shit
this review refers to the audiobook version.

Walters is a master of the convoluted mystery: whodunit is not only a matter of the puzzle, but a matter of the person. the candidates' character and psychology are inextricable from motive, means, and opportunity. this is what makes her books such great reads.

in this book, our protag is a wounded iraq war veteran suspected of a string of vicious murders of middle-aged--and possibly gay--men. Charles Acland is a prickly fellow, prone to sudden
Midu Hadi

I love reading books by this author because they portray human interaction in all its forms. They bring out what most of us would prefer that it remained hidden the darkest corners of her hearts. The stories show how people are capable of kindness in the unlikeliest of situations. But they also show what we’d do when we think no one is watching. With issues like the mistreatment of transgenders, child rape, and oppression of women, these stories hit you like a sledgehammer. You realize there is
Young soldier in Iraq is injured in a roadside bombing and his face is badly damaged. He isn't accepted back for active duty and is at loose ends, with both anger and terrible migraines plaguing him. His girlfriend has broken up with him, he doesn't have a job, and it looks like he may have some connections to some killings. This is the basis of the book.
I didn't think it was one of her better books. The bad guy was kind of obvious, and the good characters were also self-evident even if their
Jul 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, review, sold, mystery
This recent mystery novel by Minette Walters starts slow and takes its time to come into gear. The story is complex, almost jumbled at times, and the author may have been better off focusing on the main thread. There are a lot of sidelines, but instead of adding to the mystery and tension, I thought the story was unnecessarily protracted, only to reach a crowded and hasty end.

Furthermore I miss the smart humor I enjoyed in the author's early works, but which somehow got lost over the years,
Deborah Pickstone
Why did Minette Walters stop writing books? I wish she had not! In many ways this is my favourite - though I'd find it hard to say which of hers is my favourite - especially because of the many casualties of war (ex soldiers) I have met among street people and others over the years and the great support I feel for them. I am a pacifist but that doesn't extend to soldiers who the country has essentially abandoned. Lieutenant Acland does convince me. I found the ending a bit less so but overall I ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
She's my favourite crime writer, and this was a return to form. I liked the main character, an angry, bitter and damaged returned Iraq veteran who gets caught up in the serial murders of old men who were paying for sex. It's got a really twisted conclusion, and while I'm not sure she exposed enough clues along the way for the reader to accept the perpertrator as revealed, I really liked the tension of the investigation. She's another writer who uses a lot of epistolatory text, but again, she ...more
May 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The mystery wasn't engaging and the writing was tedious. A character would do something, then we would spend 10 minutes reading about a policeman going thru mental gymnastics to figure out that the character.... (drumroll) um, did exactly what we read about 8 pages ago. Not a sympathetic character in the cast, either. I liked a Walters book I read a few years ago, but this one did nothing for me.
The Cats’ Mother
Very good psychological thriller, not at all what I was expecting, about a British soldier badly disfigured in Iraq, being investigated by the police for a series of brutal murders of gay men. There's a great heroine, clever twists and you spend the whole book wondering did he or didn't he. I definitely want to read more of her books.
Barry Hammond
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great characters make this one of Minette Walter's most satisfying books yet. Plenty of dark crime here, too. All in all a pretty terrific thriller to keep you reading well into the night. - BH.
Stephanie Pieck
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a mystery where every character is complex, vivid, unforgettable, and undoubtedly human, this is your book.
The novel tells the story of a British lieutenant, severely injured and disfigured when his vehicle was destroyed by an IED. The blast alters much more than his outward appearance. He is suspected by police for murders in London, but it soon becomes clear that the crimes, and the people drawn into their investigation, are all much more complicated than first
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epub

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
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Although I've enjoyed other books by this author, this audio book was just not my "cuppa". I chose it because I like psychological studies. It started out promising when centered on Charles, an army veteran with a severe disfigurement and PTSD. I was interested in him but couldn't muster any enthusiasm for the rest of the cast of characters: An ex-fiancee who fancied herself as Uma Thurman, a lesbian doctor and her partner, various police detectives, a random young punk with diabetes (not sure ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Minette Walters books aren't just great spy novels....they are interesting books presenting the reader with layers of mystery, analysis and sleuthing. By the first chapter, the reader is hooked. The novel starts out with an injured and disfigured army lieutenant trying to jump the hurdles of speaking to a psychiatrist without giving away any information about himself (especially some dark, hidden secrets). He just happens to coincidentally appear every time there is a "clue" in a rash of murders ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Difficult to give a review of such a long, complicated but great story. A British background with a returning wounded Iraqi lieutenant, Charles Acland as the main character. Childhood background issues, former psychotic girl friend, migraine headaches as a result of his injuries along with being at the wrong time and place in murder investigations. A woman doctor takes him "under her wing", a police superintendent's belief in him, all make for a spell binding story. Keeps you in suspense and ...more
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books-read
I am a fan of Minette Walters but it is some time since I have read anything by her. I have only given this book 3 stars although the actual book is worth 4 stars. It is very well written and an absorbing read BUT the ending (i.e. who dun it) I found unsatisfactory, as was the explanation for why Acland (a successful and brave Lt. in the army) was so psychologically damaged and aggressive. Sorry but the last 25 or so pages lost this book its 4th star for me ... still worth reading.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Minette Walters does a good job creating realistic characters, keeping them true to themselves, and writing psychological profiles for them.

Her plot points follow logically and she never springs anything on you that doesn’t make any sort of sense. Agatha Christie may have been the queen of crime, but Minette Walters follows in her footsteps very well, and writes crime perhaps even better.
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Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for
“It's [the word “sorry”] the most infuriating word in the English language. Just a cheap way to behave badly then shelve responsibility by putting the onus on the other person to be forgiving.” 36 likes
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