The BBC's series of Doctor Who novels are written for a built-in niche audience: almost everyone who picks up one of these books has at least some prior knowledge of the series, and usually of the particular Doctor and companion around whom each book revolves. So, unlike other books, character-development and background exposition are almost non-existent -- and that's perfectly OK. Who wants a re-hash every single time they start a new adventure with characters they already know so well?
What one does look for in a book that seeks to continue the adventures of well-established television characters, is a sense that the text versions are the same people as those portrayed on-screen by the actors. And in Doctor Who: The Nightmare Of Black Island by Mike Tucker, that's exactly what you get.
When the Doctor and Rose land on a small, Welsh fishing village, they're immediately besieged by strange, deadly monsters that stalk the woods. They manage to scramble to safety, and, upon further examination, they learn that the townsfolk no longer move around after dark for fear of being attacked, and that the village's children have all been plagued by distressing nightmares for the last several months. Sounds like a job for Ten and Rose!
I'm a Doctor Who geek, and David Tennant is my Doctor (not to mention my favorite actor) -- so I was thrilled to find that Mike Tucker's characterization of both Ten and Rose was spot on. The plot was intricately done and interesting, and Tucker perfectly captured the tone of a Ten-era Who episode: a delicious blend of comedy, horror and pathos. The dialog was especially well-done, as I could hear both David Tennant and Billie Piper delivering those lines.
For me, this novel really felt like a lost episode, and let me feel like I had my Doctor back -- if only for awhile. Highly recommended to Doctor Who fans looking to spend some more time with Ten and Rose.