James Goss is a decent writer of both Torchwood and Dr Who adventures (though I didn’t enjoy his recent Hounds of Artemis). Recently I listened to a couple of adventures (Department X and Ghost Train) both of which are read by Kai Owen (Rhys). I review here…
Department X – 4 stars
This 2xCD release is read by Kai Owen (the actor who plays Gwen Cooper’s husband Rhys) and he makes a good job of it; at several points whilst listening I was absorbed in the story and well able to separate the characters. I also thought the time flew by. The story is set before Children of Earth and revolves around Jack, Gwen and Ianto plus the varied inhabitants of G.R. Owen a faded department store (think Grace Brothers, indeed we get the ‘I’m free’ line a couple of times!).
Into this mix steps the inevitable cocktail; of aliens, death and the dodgy administrators; there then follows a sequence of mishaps that gives all three characters something genuine to do. Of particular note is the writing – at a few points the prose steps up the plate filling in the story details to support your imagination.
Why only 4 stars? Compared to material recently on BBC Radio 4 Extra I would say it is better than Big Bang and maybe Dead Line but maybe not quite as original as Asylum nor as grand as Golden Age. I also don’t like to overuse the old 5-star rating. This is definitely worth listening to though if you are into audio-book Torchwood
Ghost Train – 5 stars
Another audio read by Kai Owen though unlike Department X this narrative is entirely first person told from Rhys point of view. This makes it work even better and lulls you into thinking it will be told from an informed but non-participating point of view.
The first disc sets you up thinking this is a new way to tell a story form the perspective of an outsider who doesn’t know what is really happening. On disc 2 you then realise that Rhys is actually pivotal to the whole tale and there then follows an enjoyable hour of ‘timey-wimey’ stuff as Rhys proceeds (with Ianto) to save the world.
Many memorable moments, including Rhys representing Torchwood as a company that helps alien invaders attack the Earth. I can only heartily recommend this to anybody and definitely 5 stars of anyone’s review pennies.