The year is 1997, and Hong Kong is facing its final days
under British rule. While on assignment, Sarah Jane Smith
is approached by a young man who claims to have seen a UFO.
Then the local branch of UNIT informs Sarah that the Doctor
has become the head of a Triad business front...
Following Justin Richards and Stephen Cole's The Shadow
in the Glass and Peter Darvill-Evans's Asylum,
this is another novel that chooses to play mix-and-match with
the Doctor and his companions. However, whereas reacquainting
the Time Lord with one of his old friends is a typically BBC
Books tactic, the role played by the Seventh Doctor comes
straight out of Virgin's New Adventures. In this book,
we see him being particularly shady, mysterious and inscrutable,
and McIntee plays upon these established characteristics to
convincingly set up a situation in which neither UNIT nor
Sarah feel that they can trust him.
a political/crime thriller, Bullet Time comprises a
complex web of intrigue, lies, mistrust and suspicion, in
which simple misunderstandings often have deadly consequences.
For instance, the Doctor inadvertently puts both himself and
Sarah in danger by misinterpreting Triad codes of conduct.
Confusion also leads to UNIT, the Drug Enforcement Agency
and Triad security guards becoming embroiled in a tense shoot-out.
author also plays around with the notion that one cannot necessarily
rely upon the accuracy of reported information, or even trust
the veracity of one's own memories. One particular scene ends
with a character's narrative suggesting that he has made a
sexual conquest, but subsequent scenes expose this claim as
mere boasting. On a more literal level, certain other characters
find that their memories have been tampered with by alien
is often the case with McIntee's novels, there is a hefty
dose of movie-style action. In addition to the aforementioned
shoot-out, other scenes include an opening sequence that owes
much to the James Bond film, Moonraker. And talking
of 007, the author makes a fleeting reference to a possible
explanation for why Bond's appearance has changed almost as
often as that of the Doctor!
ending of the book may cause some annoyance to readers who
have followed Sarah's life story as told in Justin Richards's
System Shock and Millennium Shock and as postulated
in Lawrence Miles's Interference. However, the very
nature of this narrative means that the closing scenes are
open to interpretation. For those of you who are not concerned
with continuity between novels, the climax will shake and
stir you all the more.