The Scarifyers
The Devil of Denge Marsh

Starring: Nicholas Courtney and Terry Molloy
Cosmic Hobo
RRP: 10.99
ISBN-13: 978 0 9555158 1 1
Available 07 May 2007

Inspector Lionheart and Professor Dunning, having disposed of a diabolical threat from the Woman's Institute, are sent to investigate the strange goings on in Denge Marsh, an acoustic listening facility, where the operators are dying one by one...

The Scarifyers: The Devil of Denge Marsh is an audio adventure written by Paul Morris and directed by Simon Barnard and is the follow up story to The Nazad Conspiracy.

I had the good fortune to review the first disc and all I can say is that the series has gone from strength to strength. There is little doubt that, given the choices of vocal actors, that Cosmic Hobo were trying to interest the Doctor Who crowd. Now this is not a bad marketing ploy, but in truth this adventure is so good that is should engage any fan of imaginative fiction.

The show is set in the mould of a boys own adventure with more than a nod to the comedic possibilities. There are puns aplenty to make you smile and, a wicked pastiche of the nude dancing scene from The Wicker Man, with the ugly Mrs Willow dancing for Professor Dunning at the Donecombe Inn (pronounced Don't Come In). Cosmic Hobo should send me compensation as I broke out into fits of laughing in the high street, much to the consternation of passers by. Word of warning, if you're going to listen to this in public you may spend an inordinate time with a silly grin on you face.

Given that the adventure is written with amusement in mind Paul Morris has not skimped on the central mystery, which he has set in the real world. Many of the characters existed, such as Aleister Crowley, once dubbed "The Wickedest Man in the World". And the acoustic listening devices not only did exist, they still do. They are enormous concrete structures which were used to detect incoming aircraft; they were eventually replaced by radar.

Having settled into their new characters Nicholas Courtney (Lionheart) and Terry Malloy (Dunning) put in even better performances the second time around. The rest of the crew keep their vocal talents just this side of caricature, so whilst there isn't a character that doesn't have an accent or odd vocal inflection it never slips into the outright silly. The overall effect adds to the light-hearted ambience.

So here we have a professionally produced, well acted, funny yarn, which should entertain anyone from eight to eighty. If Cosmic Hobo can keep up this level of quality I definitely look forward to the next adventure. This release is a little slice of audio perfection.

Charles Packer