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Violent Mess

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Thursday 10 February 2005
Rating:   6

This is Steve Lyons' second Who novel, and he has not found his strength, yet, though his later novels will be among the best of the Who novels. This one just gets out of control. The early parts, the setup, are quite intriguing. There is a nice, slow build as forces align themselves to clash on the huge space station Network, broadcaster to the worlds. Lyons has much fun with parodies of various styles of TV programmes and takes several pot shots at the BBC. The main problem involves the second half of the book. Once the forces start clashing, a violent, bloody mess occurs. It is as if Lyons is trying to outdo '80s action films in terms of body counts and gruesome deaths. This violent strain takes over, and the plot disintegrates under its weight. Still, the first half is very interesting and indicates the strongest aspects of Lyons' writing.

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