The biggest advantage of Doctor Who in book format is that it is unrestrained by budget or taste, and unsurprisingly certain authors have run wild with the possibility and ramped up the gore. Storm Harvest is a prime example - it's essentially Doctor Who meets Aliens via Jaws. Although fantastic fun and often tense and exciting, the book's kid-in-a-candy-store glee at being allowed blood and guts often leads to flying limbs and schlocky excess.
The tale of the Doctor and Ace trying for a holiday on the pleasure-world of Coralee and finding, sadly, that ancient monsters are being awoken, is not an especially new one in Doctor Who. Still, the traditional format merely allows for some expert storytelling, and the monsters in question - the Krill - are amazing creations. Handily designed and pictured on the cover by effects man Mike Tucker, the relentless beasts make mockeries of the Daleks. They're unstoppable, and would have been unrealisable on screen. When they attack en masse, I got the distinct image of an eye-bleeding CGI monstrosity. But again, it's a book, so we don't need to think about things like that.
It's all amazingly visual stuff, from the typically gripping opening scene to the last. Particularly well realised are the Doctor and Ace, still reeling from the events of Matrix (so now I have to go and read it...). It's times like this I realise what above-average characters they were on television: McCoy's Doctor looked the part more than most of the others, and his otherworldly genius and gentleness come across completely. Similarly Ace, once the stroppy teenager, has come a very long way but is still recognisably good old Sophie Aldred. It's no wonder Perry and Tucker stick to their favourite duo, as there's so much mileage left in them.
Occasionally it does cross the line - there is an apt nod to Mark Morris at the start, whose book Deep Blue was just as joyfully bloody and unpleasant - but for an unrelenting thrill-ride of a novel, you can't do much better. This would have been the Doctor Who of McCoy's life, and it remains a vastly entertaining, if slightly self-indulgent little gem.