THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVELS "DOCTOR WHO
AND THE TAINT" AND
OFFICIAL BBC 'EIGHTH
RELEASED IN MARCH
Fitz is in trouble.
He accidentally got
himself hired as an
assassin while HE
WAS trying to PLAY
James Bond. NOW he's
upset Bigdog Caruso...
She's become involved
with the key witness
to a murder, and the
witness has vanished.
roped in to help with
and the murder, as
well as to sort out
Fitz's problems, Sam's
problems... HE'S IN HIS
I could almost have cut and pasted my review for The Taint into this document, and you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. Whilst Michael Collier and Justin Richards’ consecutive novels are very different stories set in very different times, my observ-ations on both the merits and the pitfalls of each are strikingly similar.
To begin with, just as The Taint did, Demontage opens with a succession of gloriously absorbing and really quite amusing character-based chapters, fuelled – of course – by the misadventures of Fitz Kreiner. The Doctor and Fitz have made a wager as to who can end up with the most money after they’ve spent a week in an outer-space casino and inevitably, with the pages of Casino Royale in the forefront of his mind, the loveable loser blows his entire stake money within about two minutes in a failed attempt to look flash and impress some tasty croupiers. All the while, his cautious mentor is sauntering around the place with his money firmly in his pocket, far more engrossed in the events unfolding around him than he is in his frivolous bet.
Naturally, events soon spiral out of control as – against all the odds –
the tuxedo-clad Fitz is mistaken
for an assassin, Sam is trapped
inside a painting, and the Doctor
finds himself of the trail of a brace of very unlikely and unconvincing murders. Richards’ plot is workmanlike, his curious montage ticking all the necessary boxes, but never threatening
to dazzle the reader in the way that his deft characterisation of the regulars does.
Even so, Demontage is marvellous fun, never taking itself too seriously, yet still managing to deliver a few good old-fashioned Doctor Who scares. Fans of the James Bond movies will no doubt appreciate the deluge of veiled references to the franchise, which range from the story’s transparent “Vega” (Las Vegas) setting and “the man with the crystal gun”, to much more cryptic corruptions of famous Bond characters’ names.
Overall then, Demontage is fun, but ultimately frustrating. When it’s good, it’s spellbinding; the rest of the time, it’s just generic bumph. And I can’t help but wonder what BBC Books were thinking about when they approved that awful cover illustration. Heaven knows what Paul McGann would have thought if he wandered into WH Smith’s and saw his badly photo-shopped face staring back at him!
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010
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