Chameleon by Dan Dylan (Dr. Dan Lonowski)

Louisiana psychologist Dan Lonowski, working under pen name Dan Dylan, has crafted a realistic, hair-raising psychological thriller in his debut fiction novel, Chameleon.

Chameleon’s protagonist, Dr. John Foster, is a retired FBI profiler who has settled down into a clinical psychology practice. The setting is Chicago and Foster’s typical work involves clinical and forensic psychology. As the story begins Foster is consulted by a young wife regarding her new husband’s disturbing and suspicious behavior. From here Foster and the array of characters are launched into a deadly progresssion of events.

The reader is brought into the inner workings of the villain’s mind, a sociopath named Eddie Vinson, who unravels into a manipulative and violent serial killer. As the events unfold the hero Foster is compelled by his need to help the potential victims, into a lethal game of one-ups-manship with the villain, returning to his FBI training and gritty, street smart past.

Chameleon treats the reader to an insider’s view of the practice of psychology and the frightening realities of a decompensating sociopath who targets the hero.

At the same time, Lonowski is able to describe the background of abuse that is so often part of the cycle of violence, and that leads to the destruction of lives.

The fictional tale is gritty, realistic and suspenseful. The sprinkling of actual psychology practice issues and technology adds flavor and interest. The plot, body count, tension and transition of the hero from office psychologist back to street savvy FBI agent move the story to the finale between the hero and villain

Authentic psychological terminology and practice perspectives offer an interesting viewpoint for suspense fans. The realistic progression and decompensation of the villain into a full blown serial killer, with the back story of how and why a person can cut a swath of human destruction without looking back, is darkly fascinating and clinically accurate.

The story is not for the faint of heart, but for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers this work will engage them in the many layers and levels, and is a commendable offering into this complicated fiction genre.

Dr. Dan Lonowski considered writing in his mid-thirties. But family and work made it impossible, he explained to the Times.

However, in the following years, his practice required literally thousands of reports which forced him to develop his descriptive writing skills, as he reported accurate and authentic descriptions of human nature.

“One ordinary day, a colleague and I shared a conversation about the likelihood of a sociopath

intentionally committing suicide,” he told the Times. “I believed it unlikely that an Antisocial Personality Disordered individual would attempt to end his or her life. I could conceive, however, that he or she might fake suicide as a manipulation to achieve some personal goal, and, perhaps, by accident or miscalculation, death could result. The upshot of that discussion was Eddie Vinson, antagonist, who claimed his place in my imagination. I compared him metaphorically to a chameleon,” said Dan, “hence the title of my novel. Vinson, like other sociopaths I have known, hides in plain sight while committing terrible acts, often violent and deadly ones.”

In writing Chameleon Dan explained that the characters he created took the story forward. “Many authors attest to the fact that their characters take on lives of their own and develop wills that run counter to a carefully crafted plotline,” Dan noted. “Before I began writing, I would have said it couldn’t happen, at least not to me. Well, it happens! The cast of Chameleon came to life, and in many cases, all I had to do was follow where they led. I could ‘hear’ their dialogue, visualize the locations to which they drew me, and, often, I did not end up where I had planned to go. My muse proved to be a spineless creature as the characters simply took over. I have since talked with other authors who reported this same ungovernable influence in their creative writing, an influence that leaves us wondering if the finished work should bear our names.”

One part of the creative process, Dan noted, was brainstorming with wife Lynda. “My editor and wife, Lynda, a.k.a. Dylan, and I spent many an hour brainstorming scenes or characters and their development, and this, too, was a satisfying part of the creative process.”

Dan is about halfway through his second novel, with working title Deadly Eyes. “It is a psychological study

of a voyeur who escalates from benign observations of those around him when a sexual awakening draws him into watching women in their most private moments. His compulsion drives his evolution into a creative and vicious serial killer. At the request of readers, I reprise some of the characters from Chameleon, and introduce intriguing new ones I hope readers will enjoy.”

A third novel is going to be set in a fictional state psychiatric hospital and will capture the comedy that was his clinical psychology internship.

Using the platform of fiction, and by exploring child abuse and its ramifications for individuals and society, Dan hopes to give his readers a small slice of one psychologist’s perspective.

“I have learned so much from the training and experiences gained through my career. I am one of those fortunate individuals who are able to do exactly what they are meant to do. I am thankful for what my profession has taught me about the human condition, from its best to its worst, and now, as I approach retirement, if it is meant to be, I will write every day with two goals in mind. First, to tell a good story, and second, to help my readers gain a realistic understanding of my profession from within – to see from my perspective what it has been like to be an applied clinical psychologist. In thirty-five years, I have been privileged to become a part of people’s lives and, for many, to help them along the road to greater understanding and self-awareness.”

Chameleon is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and as an e-Book on Kindle and Nook devices and apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Android-based devices. See more about the author with an exclusive excerpt from Chameleon at http://dandylan.com/

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