Pegasus Books 2014



Featured as one of the best books of summer in the July 2014 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

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Other Books by Erica Wright

The Red Chameleon

Author: Erica Wright

As a private investigator, Kathleen Stone relies on her ability to blend into the background. Aided by her street-smart drag queen friend and the best wigmaker in New York City, she feels confident that her camouflage is up to snuff.

But when a cheating spouse she’s tailing ends up dead under suspicious circumstances, she fears that someone she angered in her past job--busting gangs and drug dealers as an undercover cop--has seen through her disguises. Now she must work with her old friends int he NYPD to solve the case…before she becomes the next victim.

The Red Chameleon: A Novel

Publishers Weekly:

At the start of this riveting crime novel from poet Wright (Instructions for Killing the Jackal), PI Kat Stone, a former NYPD undercover detective, discovers the dead body of Stephen Kramer, the unfaithful husband she's been tailing, in the men's room of an Upper East Side bar. Readers will want to see more of the humorous, thoroughly engaging Kat.


Library Journal:

Wright's debut novel offers a promising start to a hard-boiled series featuring an idiosyncratic female PI whose quirkiness will appeal to fans of Linda Barnes or Karen Kijewski. The author gives tantalizing glimpses into Stone's undercover career that one hopes will be developed more to help further explain some of her unusual behaviors. The supporting characters are also well developed and absorbing.



Stone is an engaging character with a disturbing background that adds another layer to this first novel. Wright is a little darker and not quite as over the top as Janet Evanovich, but aficionados of humorous mysteries like the Stephanie Plum series and the Lucky O'Toole series by Deborah Coonts will want to add this to their reading lists.


The New York Times Book Review:

There's something very appealing about Kathleen Stone, a quick-change artist who can slip into the persona of Katie, Kat, Kitty, Kathy, Kate, Katya — or her personal favorite, 15-year-old Keith — at the drop of a hat or, more likely, the switch of a wig. The hairpieces are an original touch and smartly supported by Kathleen’s close relationships with her Brighton Beach wigmaker, a cranky Russian artiste named Vondya Vasiliev. This new P.I. has got a smart mouth on her, and plenty of wigs to help her find her own true character.


Kirkus Reviews:

[A] fast-paced, quirky debut.


Chapter 16:

This first outing in crime proves that she is also one of the rare mystery writers who can infuse the genre with both smart humor and artistic prose—all without sacrificing plot. The Red Chameleon is the kind of well-crafted and expertly conceived title that might make thriller fans wish more poets would venture into mystery writing.


Jim Fusilli, author of Billboard Man:

Erica Wright's The Red Chameleon is a gift to devotees of classical private-eye novels as well as contemporary crime fiction. We're introduced to Kat Stone, a young ex-cop and risk-taking master of disguises who knows that New York City's upscale neighborhoods and downtrodden streets are often populated by the same low-class criminals. We want her to succeed not only so she solves the knotty crime, but so we can share future adventures with this very appealing crime fighter.


Chris Grabenstein, Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author of the John Ceepak Mysteries:

Erica Wright is such a wonderful writer, you'll be burning through the pages faster than a chameleon changes colors.


Justin Kramon, author of Finny and The Preservationist:

The Red Chameleon introduces us to a thrilling new hardboiled world. Wright has created a rich and nuanced protagonist, as well as a gripping plot, and she writes in a style agile enough to veer into surprising pockets of emotion.


Parnell Hall, author of the Stanley Hastings mysteries:

A fast and funny private eye novel featuring Kathleen Stone, a kick-ass disguise artist who's a hoot under any name in any wig.


Melodie Johnson Howe, author of City of Mirrors:

Kathleen Stone, ex-undercover cop now New York City private investigator, is a woman who is more secure in disguise than she is as herself. In The Red Chameleon, Erica Wright creates a fascinating protagonist coming to terms with her own image and fears while solving the murder of her client's husband. A complex tale filled with humor and sharply drawn characters, Erica Wright takes the reader on a thrilling ride where confronting evil can scare you into hiding or help you to come out of the shadows.


Carolyn Haines, author of The Darkling and The Seeker:

When Kathleen Stone steps on the page, you know you're in for a rollicking good ride. Smart, brassy, and willing to risk it all to solve a case, Kathleen is a hard-edged female who packs heat but more often takes aim with her wit and keen powers of observation than bullets. Throw in Meeza, the can-do sidekick, and you have a crime battling team that also gives a glimpse into the cultural melting pot that is NYC. The Red Chameleon is a fast, exciting read that mystery lovers will consume in huge gulps.