Jeremy Baker's Reviews > Big Lizard: A Novel

Big Lizard by Joe R. Lansdale
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it was amazing

If you like Joe Lansdale's work, you're going to be more than satisfied with Big Lizard. If you've never read him before, then buckle the f*ck up because you're in for a hell of an introduction.

Big Lizard is a wild, weird, darkly comic, gory, occasionally terrifying, and consistently entertaining romp through the world of the occult, chicken restaurants, and Biblical theme parks. You really get a representation of all Lansdale's genres here. Crime, horror, humor, it's all in there. As to the story? There's a Big Lizard, of course, but there's also a Giant Chicken. And demons. And a smartass normal-sized chicken with big-sized intelligence (and an eye patch, because why the heck not?). And a homeless guy named after one of the most significant Roman symbols of conquest and geoengineering.

The protagonist, Buster Nix, is a believable and mostly endearing schlub who finds himself in way over his head when he takes a job as a security guard at a chicken plant and restaurant. I won't say any more about the specifics of the plot, but I'll say this: it moves at light speed but tells a massive story that's part exploration of a demonic bureaucracy, part clear-eyed economic and class critique, a cultural exploration of religion, and also a superhero origin story. Sit down and strap in, because you're gonna get an enjoyable case of whiplash, punctuated with the occasional guffaw and muttered "what the heck did I just read", in the best possible way.

And it's all written with Lansdale's trademark verve, visceral descriptions, and humor. You want snappy dialogue? You got it. You want fully-fleshed characters who seem to come to life right before you on the page? Sure. Fart jokes? At least a half dozen.

I think this passage says it all:
Buster stared at a poster mounted on the wall behind Auntie June. A cat was hanging on for dear life with the inspirational message of "Hang in there," printed at the top.

Buster wasn't sure why that was supposed to inspire him. That cat just looked f*cked.

A final word about the physical book itself--the cover is gorgeous, and perfectly evokes the feel of the book. You could easily see this working as a graphic novel. The contents are beautifully presented by SST, with a great layout that really lends itself to the story and does its own lifting on building the theme.

I literally cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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Reading Progress

June 29, 2020 – Started Reading
June 29, 2020 – Shelved
July 6, 2020 – Finished Reading

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