Chameleons of Codington

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
233 Pages
Reviewed on 06/10/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Manik Chaturmutha for Readers' Favorite

Chameleons of Codington by Linda Chamley Johnson is a suspenseful murder mystery set in the small town of Codington. The town, with its well-planned layout and sense of refinement, is a picture of perfection. But beneath this facade, the behavior of its inhabitants is unpredictable. The first Mrs. Nolan's tragic death in a hit-and-run accident sparked the town's rumor mill, only to lose interest when the second Mrs. Nolan seamlessly merged into Thom Nolan's vision for his family. However, with the untimely death of yet another family member, long-dormant rumors were resurrected, once again making the Nolan family the subject of town gossip. But they weren't the only ones harboring secrets and motives to conceal their true selves. A transgender friend, Chris, was living a double life while seeking authentic truth. The business partner, the family friends, and even the detectives all had reasons to keep their personal lives hidden, adding to the mystery and suspense.

Each character's effort to conceal their true selves adds layers of complexity and intrigue to the story. The author's portrayal of these characters is both nuanced and empathetic, capturing the essence of their struggles and the masks they wear to protect their identities. The tension between maintaining appearances and the inevitable unmasking of truths creates a gripping and suspenseful atmosphere. The book is a poignant exploration of identity, secrecy, and the human desire for acceptance. It challenges the reader to consider the costs of hiding one's true self and the courage required to embrace vulnerability. This is not just a mystery but a profoundly human story about the dangers of living a lie and the liberating power of truth. As the characters' secrets unravel, the town of Codington becomes a mirror reflecting the universal struggle for authenticity in a world that often demands conformity. The intricate plot and shocking ending will keep you guessing until the very last page. If you love fast-paced mysteries with unexpected twists, Chameleons of Codington by Linda Chamley Johnson is a must-read.

Jennifer Ibiam

Chameleons of Codington by Linda Chamley Johnson follows the lives of the Nolan family. Thom Nolan was a sleek but corrupt business owner. He abused his wife and two children but presented a united and refined exterior to the public. When his wife died in a hit-and-run, he remarried Johanna, who was like him. Johanna was manipulative and after Thom’s wealth. The children, Estelle and Arliss, also became subjects of sexual molestation by Thom and his friend Sonny. Unfortunately, something happened that shook Codington and changed their lives forever. Johanna was divorcing Thom, and his business partner was splitting the company because of Thom’s corrupt practices. But Thom’s lifeless body was found in his kitchen. Who killed him? The greedy wife or his angry business partner? A jealous and hateful Sonny, a vengeful mistress, or the daughters who hated him?

Chameleons of Codington by Linda Chamley Johnson is a whodunit story filled with suspense, mystery, and intrigue. This book will entertain amateur sleuths and lovers of investigation and crime stories. Still waters indeed run deep, and readers should expect the unexpected. The story opened with a typical neighborhood over-the-fence gossip setting that made me relax and pay attention. Linda is a fantastic writer. Sylvan's, Johanna's, Estelle's, and Arliss’ characters were unforgettable. One could use them as case studies on how the human mind works. The depth of Arliss’ mind shocked me. She hid this with an aloof, naïve, dramatic, and self-absorbed exterior. Chris’s character reflected the struggles of many people dealing with their pronouns, and I felt for them. When Estelle broke down, I understood the mental and emotional weight she carried. I also believed her feelings about her sister were valid. Linda took me through shocking twists and turns, making me see how everyone is a chameleon.

Alma Boucher

In Linda Chamley Johnson's psychological murder mystery, Chameleons of Codington, Celeste, Thom Nolan's first wife, had perished in a hit-and-run a few years prior, and Detective Grace Greyson was in charge of the investigation. Johanna, Thom's second wife, had no desire to have children, and Estelle and Arliss became used to living in a cold and unloving house. Estelle and Arliss were taught to uphold the family name at all costs, and their reputation was crucial. Although Estelle never discussed anything about her home life, Chris, her transgender friend, was aware that something was wrong at the Nolans. Given that the Nolan family had experienced a second violent death, Detective Grace Greyson had to determine the motive to solve the crime.

Linda Chamley Johnson's Chameleons of Codington is a page-turner and was difficult to put down. There was never a boring moment in this murder, mystery, and action-packed story. The writing style was descriptive, and immersing myself in the story was easy. There were several possible murder suspects with motives and opportunities, and the characters were captivating. The Codington residents changed colors like chameleons, making it difficult to see the true nature of each individual. Chris decided to stop being a passive participant in their lifestyle because of being tired of having to defend their decisions and way of living. The plot was masterfully crafted, and the psychological implications piqued my interest. The conclusion was shocking beyond belief. I was unprepared for it and did not see it coming.