Chameleon People is the fourth book in the police detective K2 and Patricia series set in Oslo in the 1970s. This particular book starts off with the murder of a well known politician in the year of that the referendum on Norway’s potential membership of the EEC. The child suspect says he is innocent, but won’t disclose his name or and other details leaving Detective K2 with a seemingly impossible situation. Add to this a few plot twists and dubious characters and there is the potential for an intriguing murder mystery.
I haven’t come across this author or the series before so was interested to read something set in Norway in this time period. I really struggled with it but was determined to read it through, mainly to find out who the killer was. I’m not sure if it was the translation or the Nordic style, but I didn’t warm to any of the characters as they all felt very distant and unknowable. I can’t even tell you what any of them looked like as there wasn’t much facial description. What there was however was a lot of describing of the minutiae of K2’s day, which I actually found rather boring and unnecessary. The plot twists were very good though and I liked the title, Chameleon People, as a great analogy for people who have more than one public personae.
I love a good paced crime novel and this certainly wasn’t fast by any means. I don’t think I’d recommend it as unless you enjoy slow murder mysteries. It could be a good choice for a book club as there are some interesting themes running throughout.
Chameleon People by Hans Olav Lahlum, published by Mantle on 22 September, 2016 in hardback at £18.99