The House That Jack Built
Jackson Leaves: an Edwardian house in Penylen, built in 1906, semi-detached, three storeys, spacious, beautifully presented, and 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.
Reviewed on 5th October 2009
Not bad for a Torchwood novel. Makes good use of all the main characters, although there is a Mary Sue guest character that seems quite out-of-place and fairly purposeless. The team investigate when a house that used to belong to Jack suddenly finds itself haunted by all its other previous occupants.
While the characters are used, none except for Jack get any decent storyline, mainly being there to hold up the plot and keep the dialogue full of witty one-liners. Jack has some emotion, and has a nice little sub-plot down memory lane, but its a shame the others were just there for decoration. The ghosts themselves are well written, although the explanation for their presence is a little weak and could certainly have done with a little more exploration and hinting throughout the earlier parts of the novel.
What I really love about this book is its in universe references. Adams has cleverly snuck in organic references to a number of previous books in the series which while standing out enough to make the reader smile don't feel uncomfortable or forced. This makes it much more believable than the usual 'put-the-toys-back-in-the-box' sci-fi tv-tie-in novel.
Overall I did enjoy reading this one, even if it only lasted a couple of days - it would have fitted in nicely as an episode of the tv series. The descriptions of the ghosts were spot on and the creepy old house really well portrayed.