A young boy's night terrors take a frightening turn when
he begins to behave as if possessed. Will the Doctor, Fitz
and Trix be able to help the family, and what is the connection
with the Deadstone Memorial, a mysterious gravestone in the
Books seem to be obsessed with ensuring that almost all of
their Doctor Who novels run to exactly 288 pages. Thankfully,
they don't abridge them to fit, but they do alter the point
size of the text. Therefore, Steve Lyons's The Witch Hunters
is printed in fairly large type, whereas the text in this
book is much smaller than average (though not as tiny as that
used in Lawrence Miles's The Adventuress of Henrietta Street).
Virgin Publishing, on the other hand, used to simply adjust
the page counts of its New and Missing Adventures
accordingly, which gave you a much better idea of the length
of story that awaited you.
have to confess that I was a little daunted by the teeny type
in The Deadstone Memorial. I feared that the book might
prove to be a bit of a slog. I needn't have worried, though,
for I found myself turning the pages at a faster, not slower,
rate than usual. Despite - or, indeed, because of - the limited
number of settings and characters that he uses, Baxendale
has crafted a basic but compulsive and scary story.
The man who brought us the unnerving Who novels Fear
of the Dark and Eater of Wasps skilfully manipulates
archetypes such as sinister woods, which contain a curious
memorial stone; a creepy old man in a cottage; an aggressive
Gypsy; and a single parent family that is being torn apart
by the disturbed - and disturbing - behaviour of its youngest
child, Cal. There are a fair few Exorcist and Sapphire
and Steel moments in this book, as Cal speaks in strange
voices, spews green vomit, and his eyes turn completely black,
though the characters themselves acknowledge the similarities
to the aforementioned movie classic.
for page, the plot progresses at a rather sedate pace, but
that doesn't really matter because the book is so atmospheric.
makes dead good bedtime reading - but try not to have nightmares!
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