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Who Killed Kennedy

By David Bishop

Book review by Paul Scoones

Imagine for a moment that the Doctor Who universe is our own. How much awareness would we, as ordinary members of the public, really have of the various alien invasions that our planet has played host to? To what lengths would organisations such as UNIT go to cover up the truth? This is the basic premise of Who Killed Kennedy, a novel which steps beyond the broadest parameters of the New and Missing Adventures and as such is not classified as part of either series.

David Bishop seems to have written some of his own life and experiences into his main character, in as much as James Stevens is an ex-patriot New Zealand newspaper journalist now working in London. Stevens' story, told in the first person, is part-autobiography and part-conspiracy theory, and charts the gradual disintegration of his life as he battles bureaucracy and terrorist tactics to expose the truth. It is a timely story, certain to appeal to the many Doctor Who fans whose tastes extend to an appreciation of The X-Files.

Almost all of the people Stevens encounters, mostly fleetingly, are familiar Doctor Who figures. The main members of UNIT and the third Doctor crop up, and there are also a myriad of lesser-known characters from various stories - and more than a few surprise appearances. Hardly a page goes by without some aspect of Doctor Who continuity raised from either the series or in some cases the New and Missing Adventures.

Who Killed Kennedy is so clever in places that you cannot help but grin. If the novel has one weakness it is that the conclusion sits ill at ease with the rest of the narrative. In fact the whole Kennedy motif seems unnecessary and I think that the book could have been a little more effective and cohesive without the JFK elements. David's clever and imaginative use of continuity is the book's greatest strength, and I recommend putting aside enough time to read the novel uninterrupted, as it was with great difficulty that I was able to tear myself away from its gripping narrative.

This item appeared in TSV 47 (April 1996).

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