The Doctor in a comic heist,
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This review is from: Doctor Who: Mission Impractical (Paperback)
Perhaps one of the most frivolous of Doctor Who novels, at best this book is quite fun and at worst it is an over-convoluted mess. This is a book that doesn't take itself too seriously and the reader needs to do likewise (the title should at least give this away).
In essence the storyline revolves around involving the Doctor in a semi-comedic heist scenario with a bunch of galactic misfits. This allows for the inclusion of such characters as Glitz and Dibber, the comedy criminal double act from `The Trial of a Timlord', to make a return. It is the perfect set up to revisit these two characters who would normally be unlikely to make repeat appearances. It also allows for the character of Frobisher, the usually penguin shaped detective from various Sixth Doctor comic strips, to fit into the companion role. In fact, much of the tone and atmosphere of this novel feels as if it would lend itself more to a comic or graphic novel. Frobisher is also fairly entertaining.
The version of the Sixth Doctor presented has little in common with Colin Baker's on screen performance. It is also quite far from the more mature version he gives in the audio plays. It is closer to the comic version in nature, which makes sense. But really this story could have been fitted around any Doctor. The only effort to really characterise the Sixth Doctor are the too often repeated references to his outlandish outfit.
The plot endeavours to make the story exciting and unpredictable but in reality comes over as muddled and confusing. There are far more characters than are warranted and the attempts to make them more real and multilayered are half-hearted and ill-conceived. The love story attempt between Glitz and Chat (yes that is her name) is little more than a footnote to events and the relationship between Mandell and Kala, which could have been insightful and emotional, is just so poorly conceived and so irrelevant to the story that you have to wonder why the author bothered.
There are quite a few in jokes and references (look out for a great `Wallace and Gromit' reference). Thus there is a bit of fun to be had if you read this with an open mind and low expectations. But that is clearly what the author had in mind and as such he has delivered what he intended.