Shirley Kennett Chameleon

ISBN 13: 9780786006380

Chameleon

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9780786006380: Chameleon
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When a series of brutal murders mystifies psychologist and forensic computer simulator PJ Gray and her partner, detective Leo Schultz, she is shocked to discover that her son's new friend Columbus Wade--a computer genius who creates cyber murders--might be responsible for the vicious killings. Reprint.

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Review:

P.J. Gray, a single mother whose move from high-powered market research to police work as a St. Louis forensic psychologist was chronicled in Shirley Kennett's earlier novel Gray Matter, is back in a new high-tech thriller. This time P.J. and her rumpled, rule-breaking partner Leo Schultz are up against a sadistic killer who's preying on the faculty of Deaver Junior High School--coincidentally, the same school where P.J.'s son Thomas is a seventh grader. While her innovative virtual reality program can reconstruct the grisly crimes so P.J. can see the murders from the victim's point of view or even the killer's, it can't reveal what Schultz grasps intuitively and the reader understands before the killer strikes a second time: the perpetrator is a sadist who's equal to P.J. in his command of a deranged cyberworld. With his computer tools, he rehearses his bloody scenarios before he carries them out. Meanwhile, a year-old unsolved art-gallery murder and a slowly flowering romance between P.J. and the father of Thomas's best friend (or is it between P.J. and her irascible partner?) keep the reader's interest from flagging while the cybernetics-generated central plot unfolds. Fans of Kennett's previous P.J. Gray suspense novels will appreciate the literary multitasking in Cameleon. --Jane Adams

From Kirkus Reviews:

Kennett's latest Hannibal Lecter wannabe (Gray Matter, 1996, etc.) is Thomas Gray's new friend, Columbus Wade, age 12. Columbus is as interested in virtual reality as Thomas's mother PJa clinical psychologist running the St. Louis Police Department's Computerized Homicide Investigations Projectbut hes a lot nastier about his uses for the new technology. A textbook sociopath who likes to torture animals because his yuppie parents have neglected him, Columbus tastes his first human blood by accident, but then there's no stopping him as he works his way through the Deaver school's teaching staff. PJ and her scruffy sidekick, Det. Leo Schultz, would rather be digging dirt on the year-old murder of gallery owner Patrick Washburn, but their suspicions on that score are so apt that it's just as well Columbus is around to provide some diversion. Kennett's matter-of-fact portrait of her pint-sized serial killer is so flatly literal (Columbus schemes to split Thomas from his old friend Winston Lakeland so that he can have him under his own exclusive sway, meanwhile rehearsing his crimes in virtual reality simulations) that it has a chilling lack of affect. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are equally flat, and since Kennett reserves no secrets about Columbus's gruesome killings, there's not much to do while you wait for PJ and Schultz to surmount their doubts and hesitations about suspecting a little kid before the little kid carves up the rest of the cast. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9781575663470: Chameleon

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ISBN 10:  1575663473 ISBN 13:  9781575663470
Publisher: Kensington, 1998
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