AUDIO BOOK
Torchwood
Slow Decay

Author: Andy Lane
Read by: Burn Gorman
BBC Audio
Abridged
RRP: 15.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 40567 707 3
ISBN-10: 1 40567 707 4
Available 02 April 2007


There comes a moment in everyone's life when the ravages of time gives you pause. The pounds that you once so readily lost seem to be superglued to your belly. You hair starts to thin and you start to worry that you are no longer attractive to your partner, sucking in your belly every time she inadvertently sees you naked. And so it is that Rhys is worried that his relationship with Gwen has come to a crisis paunch point. Of course for every problem there is a solution, so when he discovers that his friend Lucy seems to have discovered a miracle clinic, which guarantee to shed those love handles, he grabs at it with both hands,. But even beauty has its cost. Across town, Gwen and the Torchwood team are investigating a series of particularly gruesome murders, partially consumed corpse are starting to become a regular event on the streets of Cardiff...

Slow Decay, written by Andy Lane and read by Burn Gorman, is another BBC audiobook from an original novel. Lane is no stranger to this genre having previously released five Doctor Who novels as well as a number of television and film tie-in books.

The neurosis that springs up with the passing of years and the cost of beauty is a fairly common universal theme, most recently explored in Fruit Chan's Gaau Ji (Dumplings 2004). So anyone over a certain age will empathise with Rhys's dilemma - it even popped its head up in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise with Phlox swallowing a symbiotic creature who consumed any nutrition allowing him to slim down. When Rhys attends Doctor Scotus's weight-loss clinic he is tempted by a proposition that seems too good to be true, just one pill to start slimming and another to stop and like all such propositions the price that he ends up paying nearly kills him.

This being a book aimed at a more mature audience, Lane has followed the lead of the show and explored some elements of sexuality. It has not escaped Gwen's notice that a little of the spark appears to have gone out of their relationship and what better than an alien sex machine (not the band) to put things right. Obviously the old adage of turn up naked and bring beer seems no longer to be working.

The third and interrelated plot strand is Torchwood's investigation into the partially consumed corpses. The descriptions that Lane uses are not for the faint hearted as he revels in finding more and more inventive ways of turning your stomach.

I have to admit that I though that this was going to be the weaker of the three audio books as it is read by Gorman, who plays the character Owen Harper in Torchwood, whose general on-screen persona is one of cocky wide boy. How wrong could I have been? You have to give the actor his due, as he reads the book extremely well. There is the odd dodgy on-off Welsh accent moment, but nothing which detracts from his presentation.

Overall, these have been very good presentations of the novels and well worth the pennies of any Torchwood fan.

Charles Packer

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