Horror has always been an important part of the Doctor Who mix. The show was never purely a science fiction series, which was its great strength. When writers remember this the novels are all the richer. In The Face-Eater
the Doctor encounters three races: humans who have colonised an apparently "available" planet; the Proximans, rodent-like natives of said planet who are mysteriously dying out; and another, more powerful resident, the nameless "face-eater" whose description is disconcertingly the same in both Proximan and English. This latter being is the cause of all the fuss and is a classic monster straight from the pages of a Ramsey Campbell novel. Horrible, powerful, ruthless and devious, it lurks in the background and is only revealed at the appropriate moments. Simon Messingham makes the most of this, and the book contains some excellent moments of tension and excitement which helps to keep the whole thing rolling along.
The Face-Eater is a great read and takes the Doctor back into the territory of body-horror which made TV stories like "The Ark in Space" so effective. When you can never be sure who is human and who is simply masquerading as human, then the tension can be wound as tight as you like.
Two words about the cover: absolutely excellent. The BBC range keeps going from strength to strength and manages to maintain a series of connected-and-yet-discrete titles which do not alienate a casual reader by being too insular and ham-strung by internal continuity and yet contain enough to keep those who have read all of them entertained. --David J Howe