Mass market paperback, 231 pages
Acquired and read December 2014
by Mark Gatiss
This is the fourth year in a row I've read a Christmas-themed Doctor Who book at Christmas, but this one's Christmas ties are perhaps tenuous at best. It does take place in the days leading up to Christmas 1968, but that's about it-- though I suppose you the alien presence who feeds on nostalgia here has some prime pickings thanks to Christmas.
It's a very morose and moody book, for reasons not entirely clear; the Doctor is in a snit at the opening, for example, but nothing ever explains why he's so down and focused on the past. The book is very ambling, too; it's one of those Doctor Who novels where it feels like it takes the TARDIS crew at least a quarter of its length to find and interact with the main plot, which is happening to completely different people in a completely different location. And there are a lot of gruesome deaths, but I don't think Gatiss effectively uses them to ratchet up the tension.
There are a lot of good ideas here (not all of them Gatiss's), but they don't really add up to anything interesting. I found this book pretty dull and frustrating in large parts, and I was pretty unexcited when it was announced Big Finish was including it in its line of audio adaptations of novels.
Next Week: Bring us some figgy pudding, K9! Christmas is a great time for human sacrifice in K9 and Company!