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Friday, November 5, 2010

Chameleon: The March Madness Murders by Matthew J. O'Brien

Strong start for a first novel

Published in 1997.

This surprisingly strong first novel concerns a group of 5 high school friends who are being killed off nearly 20 years after graduation. Four members of this group are extremely successful (Congressman, Olympic medal winner, Big-time college basketball coach, billionaire entrepreneur) and the FBI believes the unsuccessful one is killing his former buddies in a fit of jealous, psychotic cold-blooded, calculating rage.
The story mostly concerns the last two surviving friends (coach and billionaire) and the extraordinary steps the FBI takes to protect them while the coach's team is progressing through the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament field. If you like basketball, then the well-described basketball action is a nice addition to the mystery.

Most of the action is set in and around the fictional University of Northern Indiana, which is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. For those familiar with Indiana, you know that that is the home for Purdue University. I have no idea why he didn't make the coach character Purdue's coach, especially when he refers to former Purdue standout Glenn Robinson in one of the scenes.

The story works pretty well, although at times the conversations get a bit repetitive and the romance blossoms from nothing into a tight bond way too quickly. But, as a mystery goes, it was above average. I was fooled until I was supposed to know the truth, although I think the author tells us too soon - he could've kept the truth hidden a bit longer and made the story that much better.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon.com here: Chameleon: The March Madness Murders by Matthew J. O'Brien.
Reviewed on February 10, 2005.

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