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Book Review

Book Cover

The House That Jack Built (Hardback)


Author: Guy Adams
BBC Books
RRP: £6.99, US $11.99
ISBN: 978 1 846 07739 5
Available 04 June 2009

Jackson Leaves - an Edwardian house in Penylan. Built 1906, semi-detached, three storeys, spacious, beautifully presented. Left in good condition to Rob and Julia by Rob's late aunt. It's an ordinary sort of a house. Except for the way the rooms don't stay in the same places. And the strange man that turns up in the airing cupboard. And the apparitions. And the temporal surges that attract the attentions of Torchwood. And the fact that the first owner of Jackson Leaves in 1906 was a Captain Jack Harkness...

The House That Jack Built, while an entertaining enough read, isn't one of the best of the series so far. I had a bit of a problem getting into this book - and managed to fall asleep while reading it on more than one occasion.

One of the biggest problems I had with this was the way that author Guy Adams insisted on repeating sections of the story from the perspective of different people. So, for example, we'd have something happening to one character and then a chapter or so later this would dovetail into something another character was doing mixing up the time frame so that it was hard to follow what was happening to whom and when.

Now, it could be argued that this is a clever way of linking in the time fraction elements of the house's history into the character of the book. However, personally, I thought it felt like someone who had under written (or was behind on a deadline) who was trying to stretch out their word count as much as possible.

The book's title also rather clumsily reveals a little too much about the fact that Jack's past has something to do with it all.

I did very much enjoy the rather grotesque deaths (especially the opening death of Danny Wilkinson - which was very original and not a very pleasant way to die). I also thought the conclusion was well handled, with some unfortunate collateral damage having to be accepted by Torchwood.

The House That Jack Built is far from perfect, but for fans of the series it's an inoffensive enough read.


Darren Rea

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