Chameleons: A Novel Based Upon Actual Events – Entered in the 2017 Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Marcus A. Nannini

In Marcus A. Nannini’s Chameleons, a human skeleton is discovered in Kailua, Hawaii. It is identified as belonging to the engineer of a Japanese midget submarine involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. His logbook contains a dark secret: he and the commander of the submarine came ashore afterwards and assimilated themselves into the local Japanese-American population. Navy investigators must race to find the “chameleon” commander, and finally uncover the truth behind a haunting historical mystery.

In some ways, Chameleons feels a bit unbalanced. While the descriptive passages were excellent, much of the dialogue seemed lacking. In some areas, certain characters’ speech was so full of slang and jargon that it was difficult to follow. At other times, the dialogue between characters seemed stiff and unnatural. Considering how interesting other components of this novel are, the awkward dialogue was rather disappointing.

Aside from that, Chameleons was a rather entertaining read. Marcus A. Nannini included a little bit of everything in this well-rounded novel, from history and culture to mystery and drama.  It’s a fascinating and fully immersive recipe that’s full of intricate details and surprising twists. Fans of historical fiction or thrilling mysteries will surely be captivated by Chameleons from its very first page.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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  • There is significant conversation between members of the military branches which is, by its nature, more formal. The dialogue when taking place within the Imperial Japanese Navy is much more structured than you and I would speak. The native Hawaiians were speaking realistic pidgin, just as anyone would speak with a local flavor colored by their geographic region. I have lived in Hawaii and spent significant time interacting with locals. My technical editor also lived in Hawaii at one time and was based at Hickam Field.
    I found it necessary to pay extra attention to all dialogue and keep it consistent with the persons speaking relative to their positions throughout the novel. I even made notes on each character to assist me in that regard.
    Thank your kind words!

    • Thank you for commenting and clarifying your reason in regards to the dialogue Marcus. Of course, this was the professional opinion of our ATAI team member. Critiques and reviews -professional and not- are subjective. There’s no way around that. Therefore, I’m happy to approve your comment here and allow it to be posted, so others can see it 🙂

      Happy Writing,

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