Jackson Leaves – an Edwardian house in Penylan. Built 1906, semi-detached, three storeys, spacious, beautifully presented. Left in good condition to Rob and Julia by Rob’s late aunt. It’s an ordinary sort of a house. Except for the way the rooms don’t stay in the same places. And the strange man that turns up in the airing cupboard. And the apparitions. And the temporal surges that attract the attentions of Torchwood. And the fact that the first owner of Jackson Leaves in 1906 was a Captain Jack Harkness…
Like Doctor Who, I’m a casual watcher of Torchwood. Not a huge fan, but I like the adult feel it has to it rather than the more family friendly Doctor Who. This translates well into novel form, keeping the fast pace of an episode while adding the extra depth that you get from a written story rather than a filmed one.
Jack, Ianto and Gwen are as expected from the show and Guy Adams has hit them exactly right. The supporting cast introduced also work well with the story and each feel real enough to like or dislike, whichever the reason. I particularly liked Alexander, an associate of Jack’s that he brings in for some help when events start taking the expected weird turn. What I enjoyed about Alexander is the way we never quite know what he’s going to do, what the history is between him and Jack and just what his back story is. He’s certainly a character I’d like to see again.
The story itself, the house that seems to have a dark history that has suddenly flared up again, is quite interesting. Some of the ‘accidents’ that start to happen are sufficiently freaky and make you want to turn the pages to find out more. The big point, this being occupied first by Captain Jack, helps to flesh out his character a little more and provide some of his back story. I enjoyed these sections as they gave a different view to some of the events in the house’s past and allow a bit of exploration beyond the normal haunted house type scenario.
I don’t really have any issues as such with the book and providing you know what you’re getting you shouldn’t either. I came to it expecting a quick and fun read and that is exactly what I got. The book is essentially a Torchwood episode in print, and if you like Torchwood then you’ll enjoy this enough to whiz through it – I certainly did!