Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Mysteries & Detective Stories

Deadman's Castle

by (author) Iain Lawrence

Holiday House
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Mysteries & Detective Stories, Thrillers & Suspense, General
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


For most of his life, Igor and his family have been on the run. Danger lurks around every corner--or so he's always been told. . . .

When Igor was five, his father witnessed a terrible crime--and ever since, his whole family has been hunted by a foreboding figure bent on revenge, known only as the Lizard Man. They've lived in so many places, with so many identities, that Igor can't even remember his real name.

But now he's twelve years old, and he longs for a normal life. He wants to go to school. Make friends. Stop worrying about how long it will be before his father hears someone prowling around their new house and uproots everything yet again. He's even starting to wonder--what if the Lizard Man only exists in his father's frightened mind?

Slowly, Igor starts bending the rules he's lived by all his life--making friends for the first time, testing the boundaries of where he's allowed to go in town. But soon, he begins noticing strange things around them--is it in his imagination? Or could the Lizard Man be real after all?

Iain Lawrence is a winner of Canada's Governor General's Children's Literature Prize and the California Young Reader Medal. In Deadman's Castle, he brings readers a mystery filled with intrigue and moments of heart-stopping danger.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

About the author

Contributor Notes

Iain Lawrence is a journalist and the author of many acclaimed novels, including Ghost Boy, The Skeleton Tree, Lord of the Nutcracker Men, and the High Seas Trilogy: The Wreckers, The Smugglers, and The Buccaneers. He is the author of fifteen books for young readers and has received many accolades, among them the Governor General's Award and the California Young Reader Medal. He lives in the Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada.

Editorial Reviews

"Featuring effective worldbuilding, this is a great, suspenseful tale of terror for upper middle graders."School Library Journal

"a rapidly moving story with an interesting emotional arc."Publishers Weekly

"Tension drives the gripping tale to a pulse-pounding conclusion." —The Horn Book

"Lawrence . . . offers a menacing, contemporary tale of dread, danger, and revenge. Portraying family dynamics and middle-school antics with equal insight and attention to detail, Igor’s first-person narrative is absorbing." —Booklist

"Readers seeking a (relatively safe) thriller will likely find this fills the bill, with an added bonus of a memorably complex but relatable narrator."The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Friendship difficulties provide a contrast and an anchor to the terrifying threat, and the various plot elements are deftly tied together in a fitting twist that will have readers quickly turning the pages. . . . Filled with suspense and intrigue." —Kirkus Reviews

"Lawrence is a gifted storyteller and this book presents a good story with some twists and turns. . . The heart of the story is about finding a place to feel safe and overcoming past trauma and those are certainly good messages." —School Library Connection

Other titles by Iain Lawrence