cover image Deadman’s Castle

Deadman’s Castle

Iain Lawrence. Holiday House/Ferguson, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4655-1

A family perpetually flees from a man with a lizard tattoo in this intriguing middle grade mystery. Six years prior to this book’s start, Igor Watson’s father “saw someone do a terrible thing”; ever since, the family has been on the run, changing towns and identities, and reporting to a witness protection agency, the Protectors, each time an ambiguous character known only as the Lizard Man tracks them down. Now 12, Igor—his most recent alias—persuades his parents that he should attend school. Slowly settling in, making friends, and experiencing bullying, Igor realizes just how restrictive his family’s rules are: always be home before dark, keep the curtains closed, lie about the family’s background. As Igor’s cover story starts to slip and he feels an odd sense of familiarity in his “new” town, he must decide just how far to trust his friends, even as he questions his father’s stability and the Lizard Man’s very existence. Against a suspenseful backdrop, Lawrence (The Skeleton Tree) pits Igor’s longing for normalcy against the precautions he takes to keep his family safe, creating a rapidly moving story with an interesting emotional arc. Ages 9–12. [em]Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne & Miller Literary. (Mar.) [/em]