The Chameleon's Shadow
Allen and Unwin, 2007. A trade paeerback copy in very good, unmarked condition.
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 personality. Described as an outgoing extrovert by everyone who knew him before he was wounded, he becomes increasingly isolated and withdrawn as he undergoes reconstructive surgery in a military hospital in Birmingham. Crippled by migraines, and suspicious of his psychiatrist, he begins to display sporadic bouts of aggression...particularly against women...and very particularly against his ex-fianc e who seems unable to accept that the relationship is over...Rejecting medical advice to continue with cosmetic surgery, Acland discharges himself and makes a bid to return to active service. Devastated when the army refuses the request, 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...Out of control and only prevented from killing the man by the intervention of a 250-pound female weightlifter called Jackson, he attracts the attention of police who are investigating three gay' murders in the Bermondsey area that appear to have been motivated by extreme rage...Under suspicion, Acland is forced to confront the real issues behind his isolation and the self-denying Spartan existence that has brought him close to starvation. 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-fiance claims?And why...if he hates women...does he look to a woman for help...? First published 2007.