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The Lizard

Narrated by: Dugald Bruce-Lockhart
Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

Obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Alistair Haston heads off to Greece, where she is on holiday. Mugged on the harbour side in Paros, he is robbed of everything. So when Ricky, a charming Aussie, shows up and offers Alistair a job recruiting tourists to pose for his wealthy boss, Heinrich, a charismatic, German artist, Alistair accepts. He soon realises that it is more than just painting that Heinrich has in mind. 

Swept away on a tide of wild parties, wild sex, fine food and drugs, Haston sheds his reserve and throws himself headlong into the pursuit of pleasure. Until the body of a missing tourist is found and the finger of blame points to Haston. His world collapses. Arrested but allowed to escape, the body count piles up, and Haston finds himself on the run by land and sea on a journey more breathtaking and more frightening than his wildest dreams.

©2020 Dugald Bruce-Lockhart (P)2020 W. F. Howes Ltd
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Boy's Own meets Bourne Identity - one for the guys

OK - I have to admit it, I adore the escapism of murder mysteries/psychological thrillers set it glamorous exotic settings as it is like taking a bit of a holiday every time you listen in - so this was my first reason for ore-ordering this book.

Second reason: I love Greece and in particular the Islands of the Cyclades.

Coincidentally the author and narrator always sounds to me like the lovely TV travel expert Simon Calder - so unfortunately I cannot help seeing Simon Calder speaking when I hear Dugald Bruce-Lockhart. This is a little disconcerting when the narration is in the first person describing a young romantic action figure as I cannot get the imagine of Simon Calder getting a little unsteadily off a train wearing voluminous shorts and looking every inch the archetypal English man abroad.

That being said the delivery and reading was good, in an excited Boy's Own or scouts round a campfire style.

I really think I would have given up a whole lot earlier had in not been for the Greek island Hopping backdrop.
Not that the writing was bad, just really - apart from the crude language - it was a boy's adventure and while it started out well it did gather momentum become more and more fantastical.

I am not sure what year it is meant to be in - but no mobile phones and Dracmas instead of Euros in Greece so a while ago and that makes sense when you start to hear women refered to as "The Blonde" and not in an ironic way!

When the action started I tuned out as it entered the Bourne Identity genre of daring dando and many punches and a bit of rumpy pumpy into the bargain.

I know this is the author's first book and there really is a lot of compelling writing in it but it all just seems rather old fashioned and then when the initially good plot turns into all fists, fightscenes, speedboats and improbable twists, double twists and bigger pictures.

All this seems most unlikely as the rather dull and lovelorn protagonist becomes rather lost in mire before becoming an action hero sounding rather like a lonely bookish school boy's fantasy where he is made the centre of attention in a huge plot and then must super hero his way out dodging bullets and skull crushing heavies.

It could have been much better - or maybe I am just not the target market as it just became rather cliched and the previous intrigue gave way to donkey kicking down doors, swimming a kilometre after abandoning a wind surfer and a simply huge body count - plus what seemed like an obsession with smoking, swearing and spotting stray dogs.

Oh and the corny almost vintage James Bond-esque lines - the hideously facially deformed one-eyed German pervert and the many descriptions of a rush of blood to the groin - just hard to know what to make of it.

At times it actually felt embarrassing like reading a young boy's secret fictional diary where he makes himself into an action hero from the sixties where "The Blonde" wears blood red lipstick, has a smile that plays on her wet lips, dimples that bring the world to a halt, Bikini bras, a feline form not to mention a body that had been kissed by the sun ......….hard at times also not to just laugh out loud.

Good for those who like a throw-back ripping yarn and more endless details of The Cyclades than you could hope for in a Geography lesson - and more naming and descriptions of Mediterranean shrubs than a gardening programme - shame about the bad language, adult theme smoking and soupçon of bedroom high jinx - otherwise would be perfect for boys who love adventure tales.

Maybe one for the Dads rather than the lads!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

The lizard

Good book to read on holiday on the sun lounger, but like a holiday romance loses its glamour when you return home!!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Could have been rescued

The story line is good, if a little long winded and dated: perhaps it was written in the eighties with a hope there might be a Hollywood film offer. However, the ability to come up with a good enough story should not encourage the writer to pad it out with superfluous information; neither should it be assumed a writer can narrate. This book might have been rescued with a narrator that knows how to pace and a generous peppering of editing. I abandoned it with a bit over an hour to go.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A good yarn

Easy listening with a different sort of story line. Other reviewers have said there were points he could have contacted the authorities or home or someone else but hey, it’s a story and his responses to particular circumstances were what made for a good read. Don’t be put off, it’s a good read/listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gave my mind a holiday on the Greek Islands

Recommend it to anyone in their forties with kids, who remember Island Hopping in Greece.