And so to another Torchwood adventure, read again by Kai Owen, the actor who plays Rhys in the series- although his character appears here only briefly, perhaps to balance out his starring role in Ghost Train!
As I said in the previous review, while Torchwood was not served well by plot (or budget at times!) in the TV series, there was and is still a lot of untapped potential in the concept.
One part of the concept that is used well here (and has been used in the series before) is Jack’s immortality. Not just the indestructibility, which is used here to great and gory effect, but the fact that he’s been hanging around in Cardiff for quite a few decades and in that time has managed to amass enemies as well as friends.
The other is something that I’m assuming is new to the series. I haven’t read any of the Torchwood spin-off novels so don’t know if it has appeared before, but I will say that it is an idea so clever and obvious that I would be surprised if it hadn’t been used before now.
The plot if very good, and while some elements were pretty obvious from the outset, there are a few genuine twists on the way. I was surprised in listening to both this and Ghost Train, to discover that I quite like the character of Ianto Jones, who gets some nice stuff to do and arguably gets most of the best lines.
The only downside to this story came in the shape of a couple of clumsy bits of writing. “He said, tersely” for example. There is no need for that adverb! Surely the actor reading the line should be able to convey the terseness of the line himself..?
And I know that this may just come off as nitpicking to the majority of you… but it sticks out like a sore thumb to the writer part of my brain!
Apart from that niggle though, I really did enjoy this story. If only Torchwood on the TV had the imagination on display here…
Department X is released by Audio Go.