Cover Image: The Lizard

The Lizard

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Fast moving, tense thriller with strong characters, it's a book you wont be able to ;put down.  The Greek Islands is the setting with sex and snuff movies at the heart of the plot.  Can our main character get out of some sticky situations that appear at every turn.  Who will still be alive at the end of this fast paced tale?  Up to date, fresh story and some great writing.
Was this review helpful?
Very fast moving story. Brought back vivid memories of my only visit to the Greek Islands many years ago.
Excellent plot and couldn't  guess the ending.
Was this review helpful?
The Lizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart

This is a thriller that’s bound to put you off from spending your summer island hopping in Greece! Dark at heart and so twisty you never know who trust. Alistair Halton has a broken heart. His university girlfriend Ellie has broken up with him before the summer and has gone to spend her holiday in Greece. Planning to follow her and win her back, Alistair has a very different summer break from the one he expected. 

It starts to go wrong when he encounters outgoing Aussie, Ricky after losing his wallet. With no money or passport, Alistair decides to work and earn some cash before presenting himself at the British Embassy for help. However, help comes in the form of Ricky who offers him work at a luxury villa owned by Heinrich, a German painter. It soon becomes clear that the work is a little unusual. Heinrich likes to paint beautiful people so Alistair’s job is to recruit both men and women as artist’s models. But he must also make sure their morals are fluid enough to be open to further work - sleeping with Heinrich for money. He’s surprised by how many are open to the offer, but that’s not the end of the enterprise. Ricky carries a video camera everywhere recording parties and sexual exploits, even those of Alistair himself when he gets lucky at a villa party. After several weeks, and having a few thousand stored under his pillow, Alistair thinks about making his move and going off to find Ellie. Ricky and Heinrich are putting together plans for a huge party, so maybe he’ll leave afterwards. What he sees over the next few days terrifies him and makes him realise he is complicit in a series of horrific crimes. Not only that, but the organisers have carefully made sure he’s on film. Can he ever leave now that he knows everything? Will they ever let him? Worst of all, is Ellie safe here on the Greek Islands? 

This is a fast moving plot, full of complex twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. One in particular made me literally jump in my deckchair! The backdrop of the islands is beautiful but also bleak and difficult terrain. Alistair is also at the mercy of a small population who all know each other - tourists stand out and it would be unlikely one would be trusted above a local. In order to complete his quest safely, Alistair has to think like a criminal and commit petty crimes, disguise himself and pit himself against a local, and potentially corrupt police force. Arguably, he becomes as criminal as those he’s trying to escape. The pace meant it was hard to find a good stopping place so there was a tendency to keep reading. Each discovery Alistair makes brings about even more questions, about how long Ricky had been targeting Alistair, who on the police force is working with them and how they’ve evaded capture for so long. I didn’t feel I got to know the characters very well but it’s not that sort of novel. It’s all about the action, the twists and blistering pace. This is a great summer read but be warned; it could put you off making friends at the bar.
Was this review helpful?
Alistair, heartbroken and adrift, departs for Greece in the hopes of "causally" meeting up with his and rekindling their relationship.

On the ferry Alistair meets Ricky, The Lizard, a cocky, flamboyant, freedom-loving Aussie who knows how to have a good time.  Alistair has such a good time that he wipes himself out and awakens to find he's lost his passport and is essentially stranded.  After some fumbling he manages to get employment and inevitably loses said job.  But never fear, Ricky reappears offering work, lodging, sex and drug.  What more could you ask for?  Well, my guess is, to not wake up and discover your new fly d friends have disappeared and being accused of murder.

This is a fast-paced read and truly a cautionary tale.  The writing is clear and fluid and the characters are well developed.  The ending for me though did feel a little rushed, but the twist at the end....

This book may not be for "everyone" due to some of the themes (sex, drug use, violence, kink and murders), however I thought the thriller aspect of the story was well done.
Was this review helpful?
Dugald Bruce Lockhart is an Anglo-Scottish stage and screen actor who now also works as a director. He began as a stage actor, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and others. Since 1998, he has acted mostly with Propeller, an all-male theatre company of which he is now an associate director. He is also an associate of the Teatre Akadèmia Theatre Company in Barcelona and has directed Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It in Catalan, using new translations by Miqel Desclot. He teaches and directs at drama schools in London, including the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, LAMDA, and the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.

He played David Cameron in The Three Lions, a comedy written by William Gaminara, a role for which he was nominated as best actor by The Stage at the Edinburgh Festival of 2013. Lockhart returned to the role when the play was later staged at the St James Theatre, London, in 2015, and stayed with the production when it moved on to the Liverpool Playhouse.

He is the author of a handbook for actors called Heavy Pencil, which is available on Amazon. The Lizard is his debut fiction novel.

An Exclusive Look Written By Dugald Bruce Lockhart into the Inspiration behind The Lizard 

The Lizard is inspired by a trip I took to Greece in 1988 while studying at St Andrews University in Scotland. I had no idea I’d end up using it as the basis for a novel – I went in search of a tan and enlightenment; to ditch academia for the hunter-gatherer existence. I wasn’t to know I’d end up being chased off the island by the police; that I’d suffer two years of flashbacks having OD’d on hydrochloric-acid-based diet pills (Ponderols: you were supposed to take one a week, but I popped five in one go, under friendly instruction from the ‘Beatles’ – four teenage bricklayers from Liverpool with more tattoos than hair); or that I’d spend a moonlit night being pursued through the hinterlands of Paros’s capital town, Parikia, by a gang of irate, knife-wielding Turks. Unlikely antics, for a Moral Philosophy and German student whose only experience of drug taking had been limited to soluble aspirin. Truth was, in broadening my horizons, I lost myself, and in three months, I turned feral. The end came when watching Paul – the ringleader of the ‘Beatles’ – jump thirty feet from a departing ferry into the harbour waters in a bid to outrun the authorities. Paul had been caught stealing from his campsite neighbours and the police had caught up. Unfortunately, Paul had also been harbouring my passport as a favour. When the ‘Beatles’ were arrested, I knew I was next. So, I sold my spear gun for the price of a ferry ticket, had a friend extract my passport, and took the first available boat to Athens. I realised on the flight home there might be a story in there somewhere. It just took me thirty years to write it!


Terrific, atmospheric thriller. Taut, compelling, masterfully constructed. outstanding

William Boyd. 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.

For An Exclusive Reading of The Lizard by Dugald Bruce Lockhart go to

Amazon Book Link

Author Website

Twitter Link

Publishers Link
Was this review helpful?
This book was good on many levels.  It was well-written.  The pacing was excellent, constantly pulling you further into the hero's saga.  The characters were well drawn so that I could submerge myself into the story.  I loved the idea that it was born out of the author's  past experience bumming around the Greek island of Paros and getting chased by a gang of knife-brandishing locals.
So, we have Alistair Haston, heading off to Greece, chasing after his girlfriend, Ellie, who dumped him.  He is robbed on a ferry and loses everything (passport, money) and doesn't want to report the theft because it will interfere with his staying on the island and proving to Ellie that he is not the do-nothing guy she left.  He meets Rick, a fellow traveler from Australia who offers him a job, no ID needed, recruiting models for Rick's eccentric employer to paint.  Haston accepts.  He soon finds that painting is the least of what the employer has on his mind and, after being drawn into a world of wild parties, drugs, sex and violence, discovers that he has naively and willingly walked into horrendous personal danger.
What didn't work for me was Haston's abrupt transformation from boring student into a wild and reckless party guy.  Nor did the amount of beatings and abuse that he took.  I found the gratuitous violence to be a distraction from a good plot.
Would I read this author again?  Yes.  He's a good writer.  I'd try him again.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Muswell Press for the ARC copy in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The Lizard by British actor/author Dugald Bruce-Lockhart is an intriguing story set in Greece during the late 1980's. Be warned this story contains violent sex scenes and lots of drug use. Alistair Haston, a British University Student gets dumped by his girlfriend Ellie. He decides to follow (stalk) her to Greece on their Uni break. On his arrival Alistair is mugged and has to rough it for a few days. Soon after he is offered a job by an artist to recruit models. This innocent job turns into something more sinister. I really enjoyed this dark thriller. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital copy.
Was this review helpful?
Being at the end of the second month of lockdown, I gobbled up The Lizard in record time! This was the injection of excitement I needed. I felt the hot Greek sun on my skin and took part, vicariously, through a deadly survival course as experienced by Alistair Haston, a university student off on holiday after his girlfriend breaks his heart. Why Greece? Because that's where Ellie wanted to take him before crushing his dreams. He hopes to run into her there and disabuse her of any thoughts she may have entertained about his lack of fitness as a boyfriend.

What he gets is worlds away from what he intended but it is the perfect guilty pleasure to sink into with an ice cold beer in hand. This smart thriller is filled with all kinds of low-life criminal happenings and Alistair must change his stripes to survive. Gripping and full of action, this is just what I wanted. I look forward to the next outting by the talented Dugald Bruce-Lockhart. A pulse-pounding adventure is the cure for these difficult times!
Was this review helpful?
This is one hell of a book! A book that has absolutely everything and more. I enjoyed every minute of reading The Lizard! Every time I picked this book up, I was transported to Greece in the 1980's; turquoise seas, street bars and restaurants, mopeds, parties, clubs, pubs, villas, boat tours, yachts, island hopping with strangers met along the way. 

Alastair Haston is heartbroken when his girlfriend Ellie suddenly breaks up with him. They'd planned a summer together in Greece and he suddenly finds himself with no plans and the prospect of spending his summer alone and pining after his ex-girlfriend. On an impulse, he decides he's not going to be that guy; that he's going to be the person Ellie doesn't expect, the person he thinks Ellie wants. And so, he makes the trip to Greece on his own with the ulterior motive of bumping into her in Greece in the hope that upon seeing him, she'll realise she wants him back. 

Upon his arrival in Greece, Alastair is immediately thrown into a world of strangers, alcohol, drugs and debauchery; the "highs" of island life. Waking up the next morning with the monster of all hangovers, he can't remember what happened the night before and worse still, his money and passport have been stolen. 

Alastair's journey over the summer is incredible. Everything he stumbles into is worlds away from the life he lived before. He finds himself in scenarios that he could never have dreamt, doing things he'd never have imagined he'd be capable of. And when he finds himself in prison, accused of a crime he didn't commit, suddenly Alastair needs to fight to survive, to clear his name and make it home... alive. 

The Lizard is fantastically written. The first Dugald Bruce-Lockhart book that I've read and I enjoyed it immensely! The story development is brilliant, everything is meticulously planned with characters and relationships developed throughout with fantastic pacing and detail throughout. 

I genuinely cannot recommend The Lizard enough! An exceptional plot that grows and grows with twist after twist right til the very end. Extremely enjoyable and entertaining and a welcome change from books I've read before - I think I'll remember this book for a long time - and one I'll most likely read again one day. 5 huge stars!! 

Thank you to NetGalley, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart and Muswell Press for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Young guy heads to greece in order to try and win his girlfriend back but...well then it starts to spiral out of control and it's like watching car crash tv as far as Alastair is concerned. He decides to let his hairdown and gets mugged. Then it's all like an episode of Banged up Abroad - you know at the beginning when everyone is dancing and life is so sunny and they are relatively carefree?

This is what not to do when abroad...well when anywhere really. the guy has some bad luck but he's not the sharpest tool in the box. It does make for a thrilling read mind! There is some violence and sex scenes which are a bit  uurgh but in the main, there is tension and then some!

So much to like here.People heading for their year abroad need to read this as a warning
Was this review helpful?
The author wisely summarises the whole story in its title as a furtive creature sitting alone on a rock; with one eye on security,other,on next meal & had took inspiration for the book from his real life experience on his solo trip to Greece in 1988.
Alastair Haston, a German & philosophy student at St. Andrews University, everything was good in his life until his gf, Ellie dumps him. Being obsessed with his gf he travels to Greece where she is on vacation to prove himself worthy & win her back.

Upon arrival at Paros, he gets mugged & loses everything from passport to money. Then only he meets a magnetic Aussie, Ricky known as 'The Lizard' who offers him a high money making job under a big villa owner,Henrich & due to in high need Haston accepts that offer. His job is to recruit model who will let them painted naked by Henrich & he gets bonus if the models agree to sleep with him and model also get paid. Soon he is dragged in a world of drugs,alcohol & wild sex,forgetting Ellie.

But after few weeks situation turns when body of a missing tourist is found. In few days he is being convicted of not one but 4 murders including models he recruited; victims are raped, murder,the whole act is recorded & being sold for high pay;Turns out that villa & wild parties were rented in his name. Situation gets worse when he has to run from the jail & get to Ellie because now she may be the next victim.

Even though I really enjoyed it, this novel freaked the hell out of me. I'm not sure if I'll recommend it to everyone as the story,plots,twists etc are so dark & violent. So, if you're not used to reading that level of dark things you should pass it. In 1st quarter, you're gonna face all the wild sex, parties, dark events; 2nd Q give start to actual story bring along all most brutal acts followed by 3rd Q with major thrills & twist. Still it ended at amazing twist, with a feeling of 'it ended?where is more?'
Was this review helpful?
This thriller will make you think twice before going traveling solo abroad.

Alistair is an average twenty-two-year-old British student unable to overcome a breakup with his girlfriend Ellie. He becomes so obsessed with getting Ellie back that he follows her to Greece where she is vacationing with her family. However, everything that could go wrong does just that; Alistair is robbed of all his possessions at a drunken cruise party and instead of reporting it to the police, blinded with the need to find Ellie, he stays and gets some odd jobs... That is, until he unknowingly becomes involved with a powerful criminal organization and gets framed for a number of crimes. With the police being paid off by the criminals, Alistair has no choice but to play the game much bigger than himself.

There were for sure some holes in the story that require you to suspend your disbelief, which I don't want to spoil here. However, "The Lizard" is full of unexpected twists and turns which, paired with the gorgeous setting of the Greek islands, is a brilliant combo, Thankfully, the resolution with Ellie was realistic and not cheesy or overly romantic. And finally, I really liked the fact that the author kept the suspense high all throughout, including the chilling ending which makes me want to scream for a part two.

*Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I am sorry but this was not my type of book. I could not warm to the writing style or the characters. I got disinterested fairly quickly. Sorry. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
Was this review helpful?
Alistair's life changes after a breakup and that is not all that Alistair becomes sad and feels love has deceived him.  He thought of  a plan to surprise his girlfriend 
This book is interesting, and got my attention from the start.  I read on in the hope to find Alistair set back in his position. Alistair just isn't love sick his pleasures are enormous.  Unfortunately the wild partying pulled him down to a missing body.   The unfortunate death of a tourist and many other deaths caused Alistair to be on the run.

The intense story kept me reading on and I felt the writer has a way in telling a different crime story.. Greece is a beautiful place and chosen for this story makes the whole idea feel gripping and engaging from the writer.
Was this review helpful?
Alistair goes to Greece to possibly have an "unintentional" run-in with his now ex-girlfriend and gets more than he bargains for. The book was descriptive and kept the excitement level up, as anything that could go wrong seemed to do so. However, I didn't particularly care about the main character or what happened to Ellie. 

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a rollercoaster! It's a very fast paced, full of suspense and action. There were few moments when I was shocked and my jaw dropped. The ending was amazing and satisfying. This book felt like an action thriller movie tbh. I really enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
Alistair Haston (with a silent 'H'), gets dumped by his girlfriend before she heads off to Greece on holiday. So he decides to go travelling (not stalking) in Greece. But, he gets mugged somewhere between Athens and Paros and loses his money, passport, etc. 

When a charismatic Australian that Alistair met on the ferry shows up and offers him a lucrative, cash in hand job Alistair jumps at the opportunity. Quickly wrapped up in a world of alcohol, sex, drugs and videotapes Alistair ends up in the frame for a series of horrific murders and on the run from the police.

This book starts with Alistair being quite a bit of a wimpy, whiny, entitled, pathetic loser. He then displays a remarkable and unrealistic ability to survive on nothing. However, when the Aussie turns up the book picks up pace really well and is quite a page-turner. I was eager to see what would happen next and how the book would end. Speaking of which, the end had a tasty little twist that I hadn't seen coming.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I believe it is a first novel for the author. It's a great debut and I'm interested in where the author goes next.

I received a free, pre-release copy of #TheLizard by Dugald Bruce-Lockhart from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Published by #MuswellPress this book is available from 7th May 2020.
Was this review helpful?
This was a very well written, fast paced book, which definitely lays on the more disturbing side of books!  It you’re like me and love those dark, brutal reads, then you will absolutely love this book!  It’s intense, chilling, thrilling, and shocking, and unputdownable throughout!  I would never have guessed that it was a debut author, but him using real life experiences really helped show reality in the book!  It wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me, but one I do highly recommend!  
Will make sure to buzz it up on all the different platforms and use my low Amazon reviewer number on release date!
Was this review helpful?
An intense novel about a student who takes a step out of his comfort zone in order to win back his ex girlfriend, and finds himself sucked into a foreign criminal underworld. Well written and gripping.
Was this review helpful?
I love debut authors and he is one you don't want to pass up because he's written a fast paced roller coaster if a story that will have you glued to your seat. A very promising first book from an author I absolutely will keep my eye on. Happy reading!
Was this review helpful?