Puffin e-book, out now
The Eighth Doctor helps to investigate strange events in small town America…
In addition to the young adult Time Riders series for which he’s probably best known, Alex Scarrow has penned dystopian science fiction stories including Last Light, and he combines both writing styles for this short but very powerful story for the eighth incarnation of the Doctor. Scarrow doesn’t tie in to any of the various companions created for McGann’s Doctor – and there are plenty to choose from – instead presenting a Time Lord who enjoys travelling around the universe on his own, but able to get along with people easily.
Scarrow doesn’t hold back on the horror factor in this story: this could be dropped down into the middle of the Hinchcliffe/Holmes period without a problem, and indeed at least one of their stories derives from the same roots. There are some John Carpenter-esque moments in this which would be grotesque to see on screen. Continuity references are present when necessary (with a throwforward to a change forced on the twenty-first century version of the show) but aren’t shoehorned in as they sometimes have felt in this series.
Verdict: A highly enjoyable excursion for the Doctor; hopefully Scarrow can be persuaded to write more for this incarnation. 8/10