Something in the Water
By Trevor Baxendale
Reviewed by DJ Forrest
Published by BBC Books
GP Bob Strong would be late for his own funeral; he was late for everything else in his life! He was meant to be meeting Nurse Carrick on a date but never made it due to a flat tyre. Today as usual he was late for work at Trynsel surgery, and to cap it all, his first morning appointment was with Saskia Harden!
Saskia is a mysterious blonde in a raincoat, she isn’t beautiful but she has the ability of turning people’s heads. The surgery had labelled her ‘Angel of Death’ from the amount of suicide attempts she’d had, having been pulled from ponds, canals, waterways, only to come back to life on a mortuary table.
There was something about Saskia that Bob Strong was scared of, and her visit left a horrible taste in his mouth.
Owen and Jack are investigating ‘Big Guy’ a rogue weevil who has evaded capture on many an occasion but this time Jack has isolated exactly where he is and the pair head to a disused swimming pool. But what they encounter is faster and far deadlier than the weevil and too fast to be captured.
Gwen and Toshiko meet Professor Len at a service station and learn about Sally Blackteeth, a water hag. Len tells them that she lives on the moors and came from the Middle Ages, but neither Gwen nor Toshiko accept this as anything more than scare stories until Toshiko becomes trapped on the moors and is almost sucked into the bog.
Owen is sent to locate Saskia Harden, but discovers a sick Bob Strong, at home on his sofa, suffering the same symptoms as those of his patients, coughing and hacking and spitting up blood. It seems half the country is down with a flu virus.
And now so are the team of Torchwood, even indestructible Captain Jack Harkness – who never gets sick!
What is causing the widespread illness, why can’t Torchwood locate the cause, and why are the water hags interested in the Water Tower and what do they want with the Rift?
Something in the Water is written by Trevor Baxendale. Its set in the Second Season, as it mentions the last time the Rift was opened. It’s all about snot and mucus and blood and illness and water hags and strange creatures that I sort of imagine live at the back of the throat and hang there during a really heavy cold, a bit like that creature on the Mucus Relief advert. It’s about the team pulling together and for once really struggling to contain what is happening, and they really, really struggle to keep on top of things, and when guns and ammo really don’t work, it’s down to Toshiko who is locked in the Hot House to find a cure, or something that can give them the edge against these strange ugly creatures, who are amassing an army, ready for invasion.
Once again Trevor writes a belter of a story and it keeps me focused till the end, there’s plenty to keep the reader entertained, even when Jack Harkness is suffering an invisible illness. And although I never read these books in order, it’s a good indication that The Undertaker’s Gift was probably the next story to read after this, given the nod from the Hokrala Corp.