Chameleon is a story about the private face behind a public image.
Leigh Franklin has it all – looks, brains and a marriage to one of Cape Town’s most successful stockbrokers. Ever the perfect wife, she exchanges her own blossoming career as a forex and hedge fund trader to become the perfect mother to her adored daughter.
She struggles to maintain her up-market profile as she is forced to face the consequences of both white-collar crime and an unwanted pregnancy.
Chameleon has taken local crime writing into the corporate world of stockbrokers and insider trading. It’s in a class of its own – a story that probes through the façade of the middleclass and the financially secure to reveal not only a bankruptcy but a carelessness that matches the brutality of any drug dealer. Nobody dies in Chameleon but lifestyles are shattered as devastatingly as if there had been a killing.
Mike Nicol, Fine Music Radio
Barbara Erasmus writes with acute perception about human behaviour, dissecting the motivations of her characters with a surgeon’s skill. This is a compelling novel keeping the reader intrigued as snippets of information are fed to lure one inevitably towards the surprising conclusion. Erasmus is a consummate story teller. Chameleon deserves to be widely read.
Janet Van Eeden, LitNet
Erasmus is a literate, witty and empathetic writer but it is easy to understand why Chameleon might have struggled to find a conventional crime fiction publisher.
These publishers want their books to fall into simple, clearly defined areas of reader preference: forensic, psychological, police procedural. Chameleon, in contrast, is a nuanced look at crime and punishment in an almost Dostoyevskian sense, rather than providing the quick thrills most adrenaline-addicted crime junkies will be looking for.
The narrator tells a simple tale of how her Cape Town stockbroker husband ends up in Pollsmoor Prison because of a series of financial shenanigans, archetypal “victimless” crimes because no one is really disadvantaged. Erasmus, however, sketches convincingly a swath of destruction after this particular crime that goes beyond a mere ripple in the proverbially amorphous financial markets.
William Saunderson-Meyer, The Weekender
Chameleon is a fascinating and intriguing read. Erasmus seems to have an unusual insight into how people behave and, layer by layer, she peels the skin off her characters to show the reader what’s underneath. The words and phrases that Erasmus uses so skillfully also have a disquieting undertone, which adds to the tension of this intelligently written thriller.
Brian Joss, www.inl.co.za