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Mean Streets

By Terrance Dicks

Book review by Paul Scoones

Given that Terrance Dicks' novels were responsible for my explosion of interest in the series eighteen years ago, it seems faintly sacrilegious to criticise this latest novel from the godfather of Doctor Who. Unfortunately Dicks' style has not kept pace with my increased expectations for a good read, and what might have been received as an awesomely good read at the age of 12 is now just rather dull and clichéd. Dicks has returned to the rather tired 'streetwise private detective down on his luck' scenario which featured in Blood Harvest, and has also borrowed the background to a major chunk of his novel Shakedown - when was the last time Dicks wrote a Doctor Who novel that wasn't a sequel or directly linked to another book?

It seems that someone at Virgin forgot to tell Dicks that along with the Doctor and his TARDIS, he isn't supposed to be using other BBC copyrighted Doctor Who creations, and consequently we have a New Adventure in which one of the main characters is an Ogron and other incidental aliens along the way include Alpha Centurians and Foamasi. Perhaps we're seeing a loosening up of the 'don't mention anything from Who' policy, but then again, perhaps they're just making an exception because it's Terrance Dicks. Put aside the fact that Mean Streets is set on an alien planet peopled with a multitude of races, and the plot could be something out of a run-of-the-mill detective novel with drug crimes as its theme; there's just too much borrowing of ideas to comfortably call this a pastiche. [2/5]

This item appeared in TSV 53 (March 1998).

Index nodes: Mean Streets