I am delighted to host the blog tour today, on the date of the books virtual launch party over on Facebook tonight at 7pm. The Lizard is out now and is the debut novel of actor,writer and director Dugald Bruce-Lockhart.
I went to Greece to embrace the binary code, to get off the sidelines and become a player. To live in the moment. Or, as Ellie put it, to become my own man. Was I accountable for the horror, that fateful summer? Looking back, it’s easy enough to pinpoint the sliding-door moments where I went wrong. But then, what use is hindsight? As Kierkegaard wrote: ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards’. Cold comfort when you’ve taken another man’s life.
‘A terrific, atmospheric thriller. Taut, compelling, masterfully constructed. Outstanding.’ William Boyd.
This debut novel caught my eye when I saw it had an endorsement from one of my most favourite authors, William Boyd, so I knew I had to go check it out! After requesting it on Netgally I was contacted by Fiona on behalf of the publisher Muswell Press asking if I would like to take part in the blog tour. Fantastic! So, with the book’s synopsis, the fab endorsement and a blog tour spot, I couldn’t wait to get reading!
Wow! What a roller coaster of a ride this book took me on!
We meet Alistar Haston, a young university student, as he sets out for the Greek Islands, after being dumped by his girlfriend Ellie. He’s determined to show her that he has spontaneity and a bit of ‘get-up-and-go’ and sets off into the sun in the hope that she may take him back. Travelling light he hopes to take each day at a time, working his way across the islands to earn enough for a place to stay and an enjoyable few weeks.
However, very early on, after a somewhat drunken encounter with some other young people on a ferry, he realises he has had not only most of his cash but also his passport stolen. Determined not to give in at the first hurdle, and be sent back home, he stays and finds himself sleeping out in the open air and in need of work a little sooner than anticipated.
Bumping back into Ricky, one of the guys from the ferry, Alistar is offered the opportunity of making some cash, quite a lot of cash, working with Ricky for a German artist. Even though he’s at first not sure about the offer, he soon decides to throw caution to the wind and off he goes. These first few chapters of the book are quite racy. Full of parties, sex, drugs and alcohol the book begins it’s sinister story and the character of Alistair starts to get drawn into it’s dark world.
I truly wasn’t expecting an opening of this kind to the novel, but for me, the book then begins to be a thoroughly tense, pacey and gripping thriller that I simply couldn’t put down. At every turn Alistair’s situation becomes more and more nightmarish as he discovers just how much trouble he has found himself in. The other characters in the book add great interest and believablity to the story and the pace gets faster and faster as we find our protagonist on the run and in fear of his life.
I loved the ebb and flow of this book, slowing down to introduce new characters and to be allowed the time in the novel to evoke the vibrant setting. I was taken away, in my minds eye, to the heat and dryness of the island and to swimming in the gorgeous blue sea, only to be whisked back to the story line when another twist is presented taking me even further into this nightmare of Alistair’s holiday. I also thought there was a clever use of the book’s setting in 1988, to explain why Alistair perhaps doesn’t do some of the things to help himself out of a situation that would be available to him now.
All in all I found this a dark, sinister but also highly entertaining and pacey thriller and as the story gets faster and faster, it concludes with a dynamite of an ending with a really great twist at the very end which may offer up a chance of another book?? If not I still really look forward to reading more from this author.
Hop over to Facebook tonight at 7PM for the book’s virtual launch!
Dugald Bruce-Lockhart was born in Fiji and went to school at Sedbergh in Cumbria while his parents worked abroad. After St Andrews University he trained as an actor at RADA. He has worked extensively on stage and on TV and received many accolades including a Best Actor nomination from The Stage.
He recently directed a new production of The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson by Jonathan Maitland. He appeared as Michael Gove in the original production at the Park Theatre, London. He lives in South East London