Mystery/Thriller

Review: The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart

Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


It is not very often that I find myself lost for words about a book. It is even less likely for me to not know if I enjoyed a book or not. But that is where I am when it comes to this novel.

I still don’t know what to think!

The Lizard book cover

The Lizard

by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart

Published March 9, 2020 by Muswell Press
ISBN: 1916129269

Data from Goodreads

Obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Alistair Haston heads off to Greece, where she is on holiday. Mugged on arrival in Paros, he loses everything. So when a charming Aussie, shows up and offers Alistair a job recruiting tourists to pose for his wealthy boss, Alistair accepts.

It doesn’t take long to discover that it is not just painting the boss has in mind. Swept along on hedonistic tide of wild parties, wild sex and plentiful drugs, he revels in the pursuit of pleasure. But when the body of a missing tourist is found, all evidence points to Haston.

Arrested but allowed to escape, the body count piles up and Halston finds himself on the run by land and sea on a journey more breathtaking and more frightening than he could ever imagine.

When I first began reading this novel, I had some serious doubts. Alistair Haston is a bit of an ass and he moans about a lot, which is never attractive. As the story is told from his perspective, he tends to add philosophy to everything, making the story very dull and dry. I couldn’t care less that he was heartbroken over some girl, and I felt no pity for him.

However, the story suddenly picks up steam when Alistair begins his journey into Greece. Readers are thrown into this chaotic world of illegal activities, orgies, drugs, and violence. To say there is a whirlwind of activity would be an understatement! The author has literally packed everything they can into this story – and it worked because it kept me interested. There were plenty of twists and turns that I just couldn’t predict.

Now, there were many questionable things about this book:

As I mentioned, the main character is unlikeable and I’m betting the author wanted it to be this way. However, I found ALL of the characters to be vapid and lacking depth. There wasn’t a single one I liked. One major reason for this lack of depth could be that the characters were introduced simply to fill plot holes; they came into the story and left just as quickly once they had served their purpose. But this technique leads to another problem: there is just no way for the reader to guess anything. In a mystery/thriller, the whole fun is to try and figure out who is the mastermind – but I was robbed of that chance here.

The writing style was so contrived and it made this a difficult read. Many times, the main character begins to ramble and go into monologues; whilst this makes sense since he is a philosophy student, it made the story drag. The action scenes were also very choppy.

With all of these comments, you must think I despised this novel, right?

Well, that’s where the confusion begins. Once the story reached the halfway point, I couldn’t stop. The plot and intrigue were too gripping and I just NEEDED to know how things would end! Even all of the negatives I had mentioned were not enough to dissuade me from continuing.

Trying to decide what to rate this book has been a real struggle. I’ve just been so torn! But I think I’m going to go with 2.5 stars, rounded to 3!

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