THE SHINING MAN is the best of this trio of Nu-Who spin-off novels; taking horror, fantasy and fairy tale and spinning them together to a coherent whole of the kind only the DOCTOR WHO format can really pull off.
Rather brilliantly, in the idea of shining men appearing suddenly at street corners to scare all kinds of hell out of the unsuspecting populous, Scott evokes the killer crown craze which hit the other year. That of course brings immediately to mind Stephen King’s IT which, despite its flaws, stands as the template of how to make the most of your creeping, lurking menace.
But in having the newly created shining men rather than clowns, Scott gives us creatures with their own set of rules, and it isn’t long before he’s lurching the narrative from Stephen King to Ben Aaronovitch (who back in the day used to write DOCTOR WHO, and always references the programme in his books) and giving us a tale of faeries and the veil between our world and theirs.
Undoubtedly there are going to be those who won’t join with the book as it leaps from one type of story to another. Readers who, having invested in the horror parts, are decidedly turned off by the fantasy parts (even though the fantasy parts have some distinctly horrible ideas). I’m not one of them though. It carried me along, gave me a set of interesting faux companions to care about and made me remember again just how much I’m missing hanging out with The Doctor and Bill each Saturday evening.
So, where I stand now, there is only one more brand new Capaldi for me to experience. With Whittaker not starting for another fourteen months, I am starting to feel bereft.