Another Doctor Who Time Trips novella, this time about the Tenth Doctor. With a title like Keeping up with the Joneses it's likely you'll think as I did that the Doctor will be accompanied by Martha Jones on this adventure but instead he meets another face from his recent past, Lady Christine de Souza, last seen in Planet of the Dead...but is it really her? After the Tardis hits a temporal mine, the Doctor finds himself in Jonestown. In fact the Welsh town in somehow in the Tardis. How can this be? Who is Christina really and most importantly what is the Doctor going to do about the violent storm threatening not just Jonestown but the entire universe?!
Of the Time Trips books I've read so far this felt the closest to a TV episode. Nick Harkaway captures David Tennant's Doctor on paper almost perfectly. There's the self-assured cockiness, the stream of consciousness monologues, the belief in life and in change tempered by that darker side willing to seek vengeance, "no second chances". Christina is likeable with enough mystery about her to make you question her motives and reliability. Other characters too are pleasingly fleshed out in a format that doesn't always allow for much in the way of characterisation, the monster in particular is a fantastic conception.
So the characterisation is excellent but what of the story? Happily that too is believable and engaging. It's a well-structured story which is exciting, tense and thoughtful. It has the required sciencey bits that fit a Who story, not necessarily the sort of science that holds up to critical analysis but the time wimey stuff that so suits the Doctor's adventures. The ending thankfully doesn't feel rushed and makes sense which isn't always the case with short stories.
This has been my favourite Time Trips so far, it was a pleasure to read and has whetted my appetite both for more Doctor Who stories and more books by Nick Harkaway.
I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in return for my unbiased review.
Keeping up with the Joneses is published in the UK by Ebury Publishing.