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Big Lizard: A Novel

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  • Authors:Joe R. Lansdale and Keith Lansdale
  • Artist:Jok
  • Publication Date:September 30, 2020
  • ISBN:978-1-78858-027-4
  • Edition:Signed & Numbered Limited Hardcover
  • Page Count:240

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. I literally cannot recommend this book highly enough.”
—Jeremy Baker, author of Drawing in the Dark



Buster Nix, overweight and frustrated with his life, finally finds a new job through the help of his aunt who works at an employment agency. He has been given the position of security guard at the headquarters of a chain of fast food restaurants called Pick-A-Chicken. There, like choosing a lobster in a seafood store, you literally pick your own chicken for slaughter, and for a bit of extra cash, you can do it yourself with a company hatchet.

It’s all the rage. Buster hates it. He even hates the fried chicken they make, and he has a discount. What he doesn’t know, is not only is Pick-A-Chicken the home of a radical new trend in dining, it is primarily successful due to supernatural intervention from a strange, denizen of Hell called the Lizard God. He provides the restaurant chain’s owner, Elroy Cuzzins, with incredible success in return for a few bloody favors. In fact, appeasing the Lizard God is a family tradition dating way back.

One night, while checking doors, Buster hears chanting in a storage facility, discovers a supernatural ritual, accidently upsets a flaming brazier that not only destroys the ceremony, but sets his employer on fire with the literal flames of hell. The fire doesn’t do Buster any good either, not to mention the chickens set for sacrifice.

Buster ends up in the burn unit, and not long thereafter, discovers that the botched supernatural ceremony has given him the power to transform into a big lizard who can run fast, has incredible strength, a large tail, and a hard time not ripping his pants.

With a rag tag crew, including, Socrates, a surviving eye-patch wearing chicken scheduled to have been one of the sacrifices, a teenage tech wizard named Isaac who lives in the remains of a Biblical theme park dedicated to Noah and shaped like an ark, Buster sets out to battle evil. Prominent on his evil list is his old boss, Elroy Cuzzins. The same supernatural accident that changed Buster into Big Lizard, has transformed Cuzzins into an angry, giant chicken that drives a red sports car and commits serial killings. Through lack of imagination, Cuzzins is given the moniker, Big Chicken.

If that isn’t bad enough, Buster can’t quite control his transformations into a giant reptile. The surviving brain-enhanced chicken with an eye patch, Socrates, can not only talk, but is an irritating smart ass. Socrates has helpful premonitions of the future, as well as visions of hell, and to activate these abilities an electrical shock and a spewing of chicken doo-doo is required. To make matters even more complicated, Buster is now the stand in for Issacs’s dead father, and the talking Noah statue in the theme park won’t shut up about boarding the ark “Two by two.”

Being a superhero turns out to be far more complicated and personally devastating than Buster and his friends could ever have imagined, and stopping Big Chicken is no easy trick.


Signed Limited Hardcover Edition:
Limited to 1500 signed and hand-numbered copies
Personally signed by Joe R. Lansdale and Keith Lansdale on a specially designed full-colour illustrated signature page
Printed in two colours throughout and featuring FIFTEEN duotone interior illustrations
Printed on a heavier 100gsm acid-free paper
Bound in premium cloth with coloured head and tail bands
Hot foil stamping on the front boards and spine
Offset printed and bound with illustrated endpapers
Sewn binding for increased durability
Incredible dust jacket artwork and 15 duotone interiors by Jok




Big Lizard

(an excerpt)



FIVE YEARS AGO

FROM THE DAILY TIKTAALIK

COP CONSPIRICY OF HOMELESS HOMICIDES
Opinion piece by: Woody Burns

Officials continue to cover up details of yet another murdered destitute subject discovered last Friday night in the Tiktaalik downtown area.

When asked for official comment, police attributed the incident to violence among other vagrants, or possibly illegal immigrants, who live in the area. One member of the department commented off the record that “It was a disturbance turned deadly due to an addiction to meth and a half-eaten ham sandwich.”

Another officer said off the record, “Well, the ham sandwich might have been involved, but I suspect something more nefarious.”

While officers on the case have been ordered not to comment on the matter officially, we here at The Daily Tiktaalik have been able to obtain photos of the scene, but due to their nature, cannot be printed in a public newspaper, but what we can state is it was a bloody crime scene and body parts were missing. A former FBI profiler who we contacted for the agent’s experience and expertise, said the murders appear ritual, and match the other four bodies discovered this month. There was nothing to substantiate a quarrel over a ham sandwich. No sandwich appeared in the crime photos.

The Daily Tiktaalik has also obtained records from five years ago showing a matching five homeless subjects murdered in the same ritualistic manner.

There are multiple reports of similar murders occurring every five years dating back to the early nineteen hundreds. A time frame making it impossible for a single responsible party and instead the work of a possible cult. But why?

When the police were once again confronted with this information for comment, their only on record response was, “How do you keep getting in here?”

Why do authorities continue to hide the truth? What really led to their deaths? And was there ever a ham sandwich at all?

We here at The Daily Tiktaalik will continue to release more as this story develops.


* * *


THE PRESENT: BUSTER NIX

Buster Nix shifted his plump butt in the cheap plastic chair, said, “So, you got something with a little more class than sexing chickens? I don’t think that’s for me.”

The chair he was sitting in was uncomfortable, and it didn’t help that his body wasn’t that comfortable to begin with. Trick knees, a bad hip, and too much body weight made him feel more like a sack of potatoes than a man. He thought he might start a diet soon, maybe buy some barbells. Light ones. Have a salad for lunch. Maybe some chicken and mashed potatoes, and cut the dressing on the salad. Perhaps some honey mustard on it, once, maybe twice a week. Someone had suggested substituting tofu for meat in meals, but tofu tasted far too much like tofu, as far as Buster was concerned.

The Employment Office lady, squat and dark of skin with a blue bow in her hair, looking as if she had just swallowed a bug, said, “Did you say you want a job with class? You’re looking for class, Buster, you need to have a college degree, maybe be part of the British royalty. A certificate from Barber College would be a step up for you. It’s not like you’ve got a good track record.”

“Ah, Auntie June. I don’t have to be a brain surgeon. I just don’t want something like last time.”

“You got fired as a sign spinner. It was a gimmick sign, Buster. My cat could have done the job.”

“Sign spinning is harder than it looks. I kept hitting myself in the mouth. And that cat of yours is pretty damn smart.”

“Haha. Tiktaalik isn’t a bustling metropolis, so even if you had some qualifications, there wouldn’t be much available in the class area. Another thing, being black doesn’t help.”

“Not a lot I can do about that,” Buster said. “And plus, we’re both black.”

“But I got a degree. You’re black and unskilled and not likely to be skilled. Your hygiene’s questionable, and hell, you dropped out of high school.”

“Math’s hard.”

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 fucked.

“Listen,” Auntie June said, “They got a job at Sergeant’s Pick-A-Chicken that isn’t sexing the chickens. Night work.”

“What kind of night work?”

“Security officer. You get a uniform, a flashlight and about fifty dollars a week to shake doors. I think some chicken meals go with the deal.”

“That’s it? Fifty dollars a week? I can’t live off peanut butter sandwiches and buy a cardboard box to live in on that kind of money.”

“You do all right for a few weeks, then you get bumped up to a more serious pay rate.”

“How serious?”

“Not that serious, but it beats fifty bucks.”

“That’s it? All you got?”

Auntie June had a look on her face like someone who was used to disappointing people.

“Sorry, nephew. That’s it.”

“I carry a gun?”

“Chickens are pretty docile, Buster.”

“Funny. All right. I’ll take it. When can I start?”

“You got a drug test to do, pass that, you’re in. Don’t take any sleep medicine. It leaves a residue or some such.”

“Just tell me where and when to pee.”

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