Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Chameleon Thief of Cairo by Stephen Jared


The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is the third Jack Hunter adventure and can be enjoyed independently of Jack and the Jungle Lion and The Elephants of Shanghai although reading the first two books is just as fun as this one. Author Stephen Jared is not only a fine writer, but his knowledge of Hollywood history, and especially classic films, adds another dimension of enjoyment to the Jack Hunter adventures. As I was reading The Chameleon Thief of Cairo I could easily imagine this as a film starring Cary Grant or perhaps Tyrone Power. In this adventure Jack travels to Egypt but soon discovers this trip won’t be as friendly as his last, and may be his last if he’s not careful. Jack has been asked to locate an old friend from the First World War, William Cavanaugh, who is now missing. Cavanaugh is an operative for the government and they’d like to know where he is. Accompanied by his pal, Clancy, who has taken to drinking again, author Stephen Jared paints a vivid picture of these two men upon their arrival in Cairo. It is also evident that Jared has done his research, and this story might well have been published in a pulp magazine like Five Novels Monthly. The details are authentic and the suspense grows with each page. The sudden appearance of a corpse in their hotel room puts Jack and Clancy under suspicion. A great plot with some complicated twists and turns, a nasty Nazi named Kruger, and the fact that Jack and Clancy are too tough to die, all keep the pot simmering at an even level. There are multiple secondary characters, and by the conclusion readers will appreciate how vital they all are to the story. The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is a short novel, but beautifully written. It is now my favorite of author Stephen Jared. That seems to happen to me with every book he publishes! I really enjoyed the exotic descriptions of Egypt and its hotels, smarmy characters, and tumultuous culture during this period in history. The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is a fine piece of writing, and a fine adventure tale with a nostalgic feel to it. The action continues right through the tenth and final chapter before tying it all up, but without sentiment. The Chameleon Thief of Cairo is published by Solstice with great cover art by Elizabeth Yoo.

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