A review of In the Chameleon’s Shadow by Mark Hummel

Reviewed by Molly Martin

In the Chamelon’s Shadow
by Mark Hummell
Paperback: 342 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1495219283, $11.66

Mark Hummel’s In the Chameleon’s Shadow opens with Aaron Lugner contemplating the broken glass holding about half an inch of Scotch. His lies had finally caught up with him, now what? Sometimes he did tell the truth. He always listened. He asked questions, had some formal education and an abundance of knowledge based on what others told him he needed to be prepared for any particular situation, circumstance or job.

Magdalena, Bonnie, Natalia, Meena, Stefani, Amy, Chastity, and there was Myriam. And a story told to a newspaper reporter, a story that had no foundation in truth, and would finally lead Aaron to more lies, and a search for information regarding a Vietnamese orphan and more lies are all part of the tale woven by Hummel.

Myriam is a beautiful, Amerasian orphan adopted and brought to America from her native
Vietnam during the 1970s. Myriam prizes honesty above all else, or does she? Aaron is a character who some power over his own life and that of others, he is drawn to women, and to success as he views it. And in the tale woven by the author the reader is drawn quietly into the tale, settings are filled with detail, sights and sounds, scents and moments become intertwined, and slowly the feelings of disgust for Aaron his shallowness give way to an affinity for the character he really is. I found Aaron to more caring and likeable than I had realized at first blush. The narrative twines and twists until the untruths become as important as the truths. While Aaron is a chameleon he is also a deeply sensitive and caring individual who allows others close only hesitantly, and not for long, but does develop the caring for other when it is needed most
and not necessarily for his own benefit.

Conversations are convincing, dialogue is used to enhance and move the narrative forward. Characters are well fleshed. Settings are authentic. The reader is drawn into the narrative slowly at first, but completely, and is held fast in the grip right to the last paragraph. The tale is well plotted, the ending is not predictable or formulaic, but is satisfying as well as a bit bittersweet. I hope Hummel is planning a sequel to this work and we may read more of the lives of Myriam and Aaron.

Happy to recommend In the Chameleon’s Shadow for those who enjoy a good fiction filled with
good writing, convincing, likeable characters and enough twist and puzzlement to keep the reader
turning the page. Not for those who are easily distracted or discouraged by a tale that must be
slowly unraveled.

Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years classroom teacher
20+ years classroom teacher