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Lizard World by Terry Richard Bazes

Lizard World by Terry Richard BazesIt is often said that a book needs to grab a reader right from the off, and this was certainly what happened for me with Terry Richard Bazes’ novel Lizard World. After reading just a few opening lines of the sample on Amazon I was hooked and knew I had to get hold of a copy for review. I’ll try and expand further on this below, but there was just something about the Gothic style of the sentence structure that seemed to haul me immediately back 300 years into its world of grave robbers, surgical experimentation and countless other shady goings on. Trust me, dear reader, this is black humour of the highest order.

Read on for a full review…

-- Lizard World by Terry Richard Bazes a Review by Des Greene --

It’s almost impossible to know where to start in reviewing a book so crookedly inventive and, let’s face it, downright weird as Lizard World. It is like some sort of deranged hybrid work of Edgar Allan Poe and Tom Sharpe.

Without in any way revealing the plot, the story is divided into ancient and modern times — flitting between the two as the book progresses. We are surrounded by strange ritual, medical experiments, somewhat depraved sexuality, but above all, the overriding theme is of vanity and the search for immortality. It is this theme that pulls the disparate strands of the novel together and inexorably moves us towards a surprisingly satisfying conclusion for such an off the wall piece of work. The characters are all ghouls to one extent or another, but many have a perverse attraction however heinous their crimes. This seems to be Bazes’ speciality — his use of language, dialogue and setting to create larger than life, but believable, caricatures. It is almost like reading a pantomime. Delicious.

The storyline is certainly surreal and even perhaps a little mad, with its grave robbings and animal-human splicings, but having said that, this only highlights what a delightful job the author has made of bringing it all together in such a highly skillful and entertaining manner. The unusual subject matter does nothing to overpower or disguise just how well written this novel is. Overall though, above storyline, above character, the thing that gripped me most was the style and choice of words. Particularly in the historical sections where the sentence structure and strange word usage are fascinating and full of humour. You can almost imagine the author smiling as he is writing it.

This book will certainly not be for everyone and its marketing may also deter some readers. I think the presentation and cover art is of high quality and will definitely attract the core type of reader for this novel — possibly fans of Terry Pratchett or even Jasper Fforde. However, if that’s not you, and you feel slightly put off by the lighthearted nature of the cover, I urge you to please give it a try anyway. This is one of the most surprising, funny and curiously satisfying books I’ve read in ages. In view of its content, I’m afraid this probably says something deeply worrying about me, but I’m sure Terry Richard Bazes would understand.

Already read Lizard World? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

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