In the past ten years the writers of this novel have been responsible for the absolute worst merchandise in the Doctor Who range. Their consistency at producing truly awful work is matched only by the extraordinarily mundane run of bland storytelling known as Star Trek: Voyager. So bad they could both be regular writers on that show! The Paradise of Death: An insult to the audio medium. The Ghosts of N-Space: an insult to the Brigadier. Players: Yawn inducing nonsense. Warmonger: Possibly the worst BBC book yet, messing with continuity and perverting the series. And their introductory stories in the Sarah Jane Smith audio stories betray the series’ intentions of producing hard hitting drama and lack even the basic ability to entertain and surprise.
To say I was not expecting much from Deadly Reunion is the understatement of the century. To say it was the book I was least looking forward to is perfectly accurate.
And I was wrong. In this day and age of endless adventures for the Doctor it is nice to know that I can still be totally and utterly wrong in every way. I should be ashamed that I let my prejudices blind me and forgot that these two men, no matter what aberrations they have brought out in recent years maintained the delightful Jon Pertwee era for over five years! A period of the show where its survival was not in question and the behind the scenes team were always seeking to try out new things. I have a lot of time and affection for the 3rd Doctor’s era and with Deadly Reunion Dicks and Letts have kindly reminded me why.
The PDA’s have been kind to companions this year. Peri is given a revisionist look at her relationship with the Doctor in Blue Box, Loving the Alien revolves around the shock incident of Ace’s death, Jaime and Zoe get all the best bits in The Colony of Lies and Wolfsbane brilliantly concentrates on the charming Harry Sullivan. Well this time it is the Brigadiers turn and what a turn it is too...
Why shouldn’t we get a book devoted to old Lethbridge-Stewart? He has been involved with the Doctor throughout his entire life, we have followed this man from youthful and eager Colonel to retired and tired Maths teacher, he has been involved with many of the good Doctor’s best adventures and forged a timeless friendship with the greatest hero the world has known. A tribute to this stalwart, stiff upper lipped, dependable chap is not only welcome but also expected, he deserves nothing less.
And instead of just re-hashing past glories (although that is also welcome at times of anniversary such as this) the writers take this opportunity to give us a peek at Alistair just after the war where he was a naive and adventurous soul. The book, split into two novellas gives us a good chance to see how restrained and disciplined ‘our’ Brigadier is in comparison.
I loved Second Lieutenant Lethbridge Stewart, the sort of man who falls in love at the drop of a hat and rushes off to face all sorts of demonic perils to rescue his hapless damsel. Barry Letts clearly brought a lot of his own experiences to the first half of the book and as a result the charge around the Greek island in military naval vessels has a sense of realism. It convincingly explores Alistair’s pre-Brig service and this humbling, heroic character makes such an engaging protagonist, so much so that the Doctor’s absence is barely noticed. Alistair has the balls and the intelligence to deal with the monsters on his own. That’s my Brigadier, capable and efficient.
But there is much more than character exploration in this first section, you are also treated to a fine education in Greek mythology, albeit never lectured but revealed through a carefully written and exciting adventure to the Underworld to face Hades. Letts and Dicks remember Doctor Who was originally set up to educate and entertain and they certainly do their homework, I have a sketchy knowledge of the Greek Gods myself having just bought my boyfriend a book about world myths recently. Joyfully I found myself remembering snippets (Hermes treachery for example) and was a few steps ahead of the novel at times.
The nightmarish journey through the Underworld is captured rather graphically, far more so than I would expect from either writer. Certain sections, taunting ghost like wraiths and giant insects, their belly’s swelling with blood are discomforting and highly memorable. Indeed, Alistair’s confident handling of these horrors says much about his character.
Mythology and fiction combines well and heads for a dazzling climax where the Gods face one another. These last few pages I would love to see on the big screen as even Hollywood would have troubles trying to capture the awe-inspiring battle on the ocean. It was a suitably grand finish to this section of the book, capping off an original tale before the traditional stuff settles in.
Traditional never seems like a nice a word does it? It brings other negative words to mind...cliched, stereotypical, archetypal...but in Deadly Reunion’s case traditional puts a positive spin on all those words. Reading the second half of the book is like being transported through time to the early seventies and turning on your creaking, fridge sized television and watching a really good four parter starring Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning and Nick Courtney. In fact if Deadly Reunion had been written back then we would all be praising it as the best Pertwee adventure, with all the gang involved, lots of engaging interplay, exciting moments and joyous melodrama. It would be a classic if I dare use such a word (in fear of the dreaded re-evaluation...).
Of course its good, the scriptwriter and the producer putting their heads together? Reading the second half of Deadly Reunion you know exactly what you’re getting, the UNIT team consisting of three people, the Doctor and Jo drowning in their own company, the Master up to some dastardly scheme and of course the end of the world as we know!!! Not only to Letts and Dicks enjoy resurrecting these staple ingredients they positively revel in them. With their knowing winks at the audience (especially in one scene that should be hugely climatic and yet they simply writer ‘Of course it was the Master’! Brilliant!) and finally able to provide a few answers here and there (why does the Master never seem to kill the Doctor? Does the Doctor love Jo? Is Yates an upper class prick?) it was a joy to walk once again in the Doctor’s exile.
It also helps that they concentrate on one of the most defining relationships in the Pertwee era, between the Doctor and the Brigadier. These two, always at logger heads despite how much they need each other (without him the Brigadier would never have saved the world, without him the Doctor would be a nobody on Earth) are often the most entertaining parts of the Pertwee stories. Deadly Reunion captures their bizarre relationship well, the Doctor refusing to maintain correct RT procedure, the Brigadier reminding the Doctor that he is in charge, the Doctor leaping to his defence when Hermie insults him, the Brigadier praying the Doctor will come up with a non military soloution. It is especially good to see the Doctor’s treatment of his friend, treating him as a military buffoon but deeply respecting him all the same.
The plot is simple and engaging with lots of action. I love the target like cliffhanging chapter ends, each chapter seems more dramatic than the last but succeeds in pushing you on to the next and the next...
While the hard-hitting use of narcotics might upset some fans there are so many trad trappings it almost becomes a moot point that the worlds population will be set at each other’s throats thanks to some nasty alien fungus. The Sarg is merely an excuse for Letts and Dicks to kill people horribly and they succeed, one chapter positively glowing with marcarbre violence. But we know who is on hand to save the day...
Well it’s the Master unexpectedly. Delgado in every respect, his cool grovelling, his surprising and hysterical visit to the UNIT team, even his cigar puffing exit, it was pure class in every respect. This is back when the Master could be highly ambiguous, deadly and friendly, often at the same time. His lines in Deadly Reunion are pure magic (“Brigadier!” he scoffs before Alistair can insult him, glancing at Jo “Ladies present!”).
Demeter, Hermes, Sephie, Hades and Zeus make quite a family and their appearances in the book raise the stakes considerably. Sephie’s romance with the Alistair might seem a bit cheesy but considering he is having doubts about Fiona back home I found it spellbinding. That he would risk so much, his career, his family, even his life for Sephie shows how much he cares for her. Their moments together are sweet and their final parting more touching than you would imagine.
The Doctor and Mrs Dempster get similarly moving scenes, both outcasts living the lives of human beings, one willing the other not, it is marvellous to watch their reaction to each other. When all her lies and cover ups are said and done she is as desperate to leave the Earth as the Doctor and I think he senses their shared wish from the first meeting. A moment where they look up at the stars together is quite revealing.
No the prose isn’t going to win any awards and the storytelling is largely not as adult as some of BBC books recent offerings but that is hardly the point of Deadly Reunion. No, we are here to celebrate Doctor Who’s fortieth anniversary and what better way to do it than to bring together the closest Who family there is and stick them in a imaginative, exciting adventure that makes you yearn for a simpler time where the world was in danger every week and a frilly, dandyish man saved the day with the aid of a pretty blond and three butch (well one mincer and two butch!) military types.
Indeed for capturing the mood of the series, in making you want to rush to the player and watch a story set during the era it is trying to represent (I watched the Daemons last night!), this is the best PDA of the year.
What a revelation. Dicks and Letts remind us quite brilliantly how they created magic during the Pertwee era.
A total success story.
Both Dicks and Letts are held in high esteem for their work television work on Doctor Who, but more recent prose works have been less than inspiring. Dicks in particular has been getting progressively worse with each novel, culminating in Warmonger – possibly the most inept Doctor Who novel every written by anybody. As such, I was rather dreading Deadly Reunion, but, almost unbelievably, Dicks and Letts have created an enjoyable book.
The novel is split firmly into two (slightly unequal) halves, and going by the styles I would imagine that the first section is wholly written by Letts, with the latter wholly by Dicks.
The first section in this novel of two halves is by far the worse. The story is Doctor-free (the Doctor doesn’t turn up until page 125 – is this a record?) incident in the early life of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. The Brigs encounter with Greek deities is fairly messy stuff, and can’t seem to decide to settle into a consistent tone. Having the Brig fall in love is a nice idea, but his exploits with the gods (if we can call them that – Deadly Reunion seems to be a prequel to The Daemons) are rather cartoonish. The whole thing is embedded within Naval manoeuvres, and while Letts gives this material an authentic air, the impenetrable jargon makes this a bit of unengaging and flat. A poor start.
Flash forward a few years, and enter the Doctor and UNIT – and Terrance Dicks – for the second half. The story here is just as ridiculous as in the first half – and with the addition of a pop festival and alien drug dealing even more so in fact – but Dicks is utterly shameless – and it works. If getting to the halfway point was a struggle, from here on in the pages fly past.
While Warmonger had a few jokes, one of Dick’s mistakes was to try and compete with the new generation of authors by attempting to paste gritty adult material (e.g. rape) onto a sub-Target romp. Here he never tries to be serious for a moment, and with laughs every few pages this is one of the funniest Who books I’ve ever read (one of my favourite jokes being the Doctor reminiscing about playing lead perigosto stick in the Gallifrey Academy Hot Five – with the Master on drums!).
Part of this success must lie in Dicks familiarity with the period (again, compare this to the woefully off-target 5th Doctor and Peri in Warmonger); young old faces, tales about an old hermit who lived in a cave, ‘I walk in Eternity’, ‘Sleep is for tortoises’, ‘When I say run, run!’ all the clichés are here – Jo even sprains her ankle during an escape at one point! The difference between this and Warmonger is that here Dicks knows he’s writing derivative nonsense, and has fun with it. How can you take this seriously with such lines as “Good grief, not another black mass, surely?” or the set up of the surprise mystery villain being given away with the bathetic punchline ‘It was, of course, the Master.’
If you’re looking for a serious well-written novel with brilliant plotting and believable characters, stay well clear of this book. If however you want some hilarious Pertwee nostalgia then this mess is inspired in its lunacy. If Robert Rankin ever wrote a Doctor Who novel, the result would be this. Utterly insane.
That's one brave title! According to Shannon's Online Rankings, the last solo efforts of Deadly Reunion's co-authors were respectively the worst-rated MA (Ghosts of N-Space) and the worst-rated PDA (Warmonger). Those aren't even the authors' only books in the all-time bottom ten (The Eight Doctors, The Paradise of Death), which is particularly unfortunate for Barry Letts since until now those two aforementioned books comprised his whole oeuvre. Whoever came up with the title Deadly Reunion either has balls like cantaloupes or a particularly nasty sense of humour.
Fortunately I can say that Deadly Reunion exceeds expectations. Sort of. It may at times be silly, formulaic, unbelievable and/or surprisingly flat, but at least it never descends to the depths one might have feared. It's perfectly readable. I enjoyed it.
We'll start with Barry Letts's contribution. (Most Terrance Dicks books are actually made up of two or three Target-length novelisation-style runabouts, rudely shoved together and published as a complete novel. Sure enough, Deadly Reunion is no exception. Normally one suspects that it's just Terrance's way of adapting his personal style to the full-length novel form, but it also lends itself naturally to co-authorship. For those who'd been wondering how Uncle Terry goes about the business of co-writing, it's quite simple: Barry Letts wrote the story that comprises the first 116 pages and Terrance wrote the rest.)
Barry Letts's bit is a Doctorless story starring the Brigadier (currently Second Lieutenant) around the Greek islands after World War Two. It's a fairly unremarkable story that eventually gets silly, but it has one redeeming feature. Squabbling Greek gods and their other-dimensional underworld I can take or leave, but I really enjoyed Barry's portrayal of post-war National Service. I don't know if he served in the Navy himself, but it wouldn't surprise me. His account of shipbound life has detail and verisimilitude - which fulfilled the vital function of grounding in reality a story that's otherwise completely absurd. No matter how ridiculous events got on the Greek islands, I always believed 100% in what was happening on His Majesty's Motor Launch 951.
With the possible exception of his novelisation of The Daemons, I'd say this is Barry Letts's best writing. As with Ghosts of N-Space it's a bit too mythical for my tastes - I prefer my Whoniverse more sci-fi and down-to-earth - but otherwise I didn't really have a problem with it. It's a simple yarn at about the level of a TV episode from 1973, but we knew to expect that when we saw the authors' names on the cover. For what it is, it's enjoyable.
And then along comes Terrance Dicks.
The book's second half isn't Warmonger-bad, but I think it's below-par even for Terrance. His most annoying traits return and the story's a bit bleah, but still more disappointing was his portrayal of the regulars. They're okay, but I expected better. This is his era! Terrance writes for Pertwee's Doctor even when he's ostensibly doing other incarnations! In Catastrophea the Doctor and Jo were *fabulous*, while he even nailed the era perfectly in a throwaway like his short story Reconnaissance in Marvel's 1994 Yearbook. The Doctor, Jo and UNIT of Deadly Reunion are merely all right, which is a long way short of what I'd been hoping for. If you're not going to dazzle me with brilliant storytelling or verbal pyrotechnics, you might as well entertain me with vivid evocations of my favourite characters - and Terrance has proved in the past that he's capable of that.
Moving on, the actual story is a rewrite of The Daemons. I'm not talking about the usual Terrance Dicks sequelizing, but a blatant scene-by-scene lifting of that story's most famous set-pieces. The only bits of The Daemons I can think of that *aren't* stolen for Deadly Reunion are the archeological dig, the morris dancing and Bok. It's a good thing Barry Letts was co-writer on this book, or else he could have sued! There's original material too, but most of it's either centred around an English country house (civilised, dull) or a pop concert in a field (like Rags, except that it's written by Uncle Terry instead of Mick Lewis).
There's , which amazingly turns out to be interesting rather than groanworthy. The Brigadier gets one laugh-out-loud scene, in which the usual formulae are busted right open and the reader's jaw drops... but unfortunately nothing is done with this and the book simply carries on as if nothing had happened. Things get a bit apocalyptic towards the end, but of course everything's solved through a big deus ex machina. Ho ho boys, very funny. It's appropriate, yes, but also a bit crap.
And then there are Terrance's patented annoyances, those needles under the reader's fingernails. They're only here and there, but they irritated me every time. I'll list a few...
p128 - "The landlord served the drinks and the Doctor paid. He downed his pint in one, with the swallow perfected in the Golden Grockle in Gallifrey's Low Town, and ordered another."
(Just what every book needs: a reminder of The Eight Doctors!)
p129 - "The Doctor looked offended. 'I'll have you know, Jo, that in my younger days, my much younger days, I played lead perigosto stick for the Gallifrey Academy Hot Five - until the Faculty closed us down. The Master was on drums.'"
p198 quotes the "sleep is for tortoises" line again. Dear God, why? The thing about wit, y'know, actual witty wit, is that it's funny... ONCE. This isn't the first time a book has recycled that line and if we see it any more it'll turn the Doctor into one of those sad old farts who trot out the same old jokes at every opportunity.
Oh, and it wouldn't be a Terrance Dicks book if no one talked about rape. Please, *please*, stop! I'm begging you here. Someone explain to Terrance that it doesn't suit his fluffy style to bring up such matters. It soils the reading experience. In fact I can only think of a couple of Who authors who'd be up to the task, and even then they'd probably have more sense than to try. Order Terrance to cut out the rape references - or better still, delete 'em for him. They're unnecessary. They add nothing to this book. They're inappropriate, they're distasteful and he's been doing them for far too long. (They started right back in his Virgin days, if memory serves.) I don't care that it's only a couple of fleeting mentions this time; two rape references is two too many. Enough, already.
However, despite all these nitpicks, I enjoyed this book. I appreciated the throwaway explanation of the Players and the attempts to do something a little different with a couple of the regulars. Deadly Reunion isn't highbrow entertainment, but it's much better than some of us feared it might be. (It's better than most of the other 2003 BBC Books, for a start, faint praise though that may be.) The story gets a bit daft at times, but don't be afraid to buy this book. It's almost everything its authors wanted it to be. It's... okay.
'The girl recognised you,' said the Doctor. 'I saw it in her eyes. She called you Alastair and she had no chnace to hear the name before you saw her.'
'But it can't be the same girl. It can't. Not unless...'
'Exactly,' said the Doctor. 'Not unless she isn't human. You may have fallen in love with an immortal, Alastair. Always a tricky business, look at the old legends.'
If the purpose of an anniversary novel is to celebrate the strengths of the series, remind fans of where they've been, and give us a satisfying traditional adventure in the mold of the series at its height, then DEADLY REUNION, the Fortieth Anniversary Doctor Who novel by Terrence Dicks and Barry Letts, more than satisfies any expectations.
DEADLY REUNION is one of the most engaging and entertaining Doctor Who books in a long time, a book that's going to be venerated for how successfully it manages to re-capture the magic of the era it depicts. Dicks, the Pertwee era script editor, and Letts, the Pertwee era producer, have teamed to give us back "the show".
It seems hackneyed to suggest a Doctor Who novel feels like you're watching an episode as you read the pages, but in this case that's exactly what occurs. When these authors write a line for the Brigadier, it is one hundred percent the Brigadier, to the degree that you won't just hear Nicholas Courtney's voice, but you'll see each inflection of his mannerisms. The authors use a minimalist style of description, but they write these characters in a manner invoking such familiarity that when different characters are in the same scene you can almost picture the stage direction, you'll know where and how they're standing, you'll see the smug, contemptuous look of impatience on the Doctor's face. You're actually holding a book but you're more or less watching television.
In re-capturing the intricacies of television dialogue and performances, DEADLY REUNION holds up against the best of such books, like the Fourth Doctor's adventure FESTIVAL OF DEATH, which was actually highly more original, or another highly acclaimed and successful Third Doctor adventure, THE LAST OF THE GADARENE. This novel is a far cry from the pioneering works of writers like Lawrence Miles or Robert Sherman, not radically innovative, not deliberately pushing the franchise forward. It's retro, probably even immensely clichéd, but it works as a glance backwards, and for an Anniversary Book that sets out to celebrate a series' best, it soars. It re-affirms the reasons we fell into this fandom in the first place, giving us a dysfunctional but capable family of resourceful and attentive characters each driven by the common goal of setting the world right.
There's nothing more remarkable then the Brigadier scolding Yates and Benton for starting a brawl, or Benton and Jo Grant making jokes about the drug culture or rock n' roll journalists. And nothing is more touching than the outwardly callous Doctor defending his friend, the Brigadier, with the utmost respect and admiration. The Doctor's ability to listen to his friend's forlorn romantic heartbreak with a personal sympathy an abstinent alien should comprehend, brings an unexpected realism when viewed in the voice and circumstance of Jon Pertwee's performance, a performance very much alive and present on the printed pages of this great book.
Some might argue against my above assessment because they might suggest that this book is innovative, more than a carbon copy of the best of the best. Though I feel in my personal experience of reading this work that I was very much watching a traditional Pertwee episode, it should be made clear that this novel does have a first part that's not traditional for television. Nearly half of DEADLY REUNION is a Doctor-less back story, a tale of the Brig's early days. It could be argued that this novel is in actuality two shorter novellas, related but separate, each granting a bigger umbrella of scope to the other. And I may well have to concede to the argument that the first is the more innovative, fresh and new, and the second is the true glorious retro.
I know that they are supposed to be one tale in two parts, but they're so masterfully done as not to be overtly integral to the other, and some fans might look at the two separately. Still, while they're both good stories if they had been kept independent in many ways, they are two parts of one whole.
And, even if they were reviewed on an independent basis, before I could concede that one is not traditional, I must admit that this is the same Lethbridge Stewart. His younger self is much different than the Brig we know, but it's him, no doubt, just a younger him. Dicks and Letts know these characters so thoroughly that they've taken him outside his world, given him a whole new youthful persona, and still kept him real.
So if the first part is rad and the second trad, the whole thing is done in such a poetic balance that one can barely tell. And while the second seems very much standard fair for the Pertwee era, the new complexity of how the Brig reacts so stoically gains a new insight of memories of events he can not, or refuses to, recall. There is an added inner depth to the traditional characters in this book so if it innovates at all, it isn't by wiping away Gallifrey, or stealing the Doctor's second heart, or setting us amid the looms of Lungbarrow. The manner in which this book does innovate is subtle, more personal, and it gives us just the ever so slightest glimpse as to who this people are and why they are who they are.
The entire extended family is present, and we see them as real people. The Brigadier has lost a love, and part of himself, and while he must contain these feelings, he replaces his inner turmoil with a dedication to duty. He'll plunge head first into the unknown, driving through seemingly inpenetrable illusions, or he'll swim the waters of Hell if he can't pay the Ferry Man. Instead of dwelling on loss, the Brig has buried himself into duty. He refuses to back down to adversity. When he insists he'll shoot down wrong doers, they suggest the British cops should not have firearms. The Brig says he's a soldier and will do anything to protect his Queen's laws and there is absolutely no question he means it. It's quite warm to see the foundations of this attitude of life, and adds so much scope to the character.
The Doctor and the Master are given a broader and deeper scale as well. The Doctor talks with Lady Dempster (Demeter) about ancient temples in remote parts of the world, of travels across dangerous deserts, of the long-lost wonders of Greece and Rome, the shamanism of the Amazon basin, Haitian voodoo, science, literature and philosophy, but he's not doing it to impress, entertain or engage, he's sizing her up, and she him, like two seasoned sword fighters trying to flesh out an opponent's weaknesses. While it seems an obvious description of Pertwee's Doctor, it also adds a dimension that causes the reader to reflect upon the greater transcendent Doctor, and we see quite a bit of Time's Champion present, with characteristics of many of his selves, something author Terrance Dicks is all too familiar with. And in the course of the book, the Doctor must decide whether to chose allegience with Hades against the world that he has been imprisoned within. The Doctor was a renegade, striking out into the boundless infinite possibilities of time and space, and now he'd been shackled and chained to a single planet, Earth, his adventures not often surpassing merry old England. We see how this affects him, and understand why he is who he is and why he does what he does a bit more, if only a sliver.
The Master, the most overplayed and overused of all Doctor Who villains, comes across the same as always, scheming and untrustworthy, but when he implores the Doctor to help him and grant him sanctuary, reminding him that they were close friends in their first lives, begging for salvation, we do see the Master a new, if only slightly so.
The book's plot revolves around the story of Hades and Persephone from Greek Myth, the Greek Gods now being interpreted as variations of the Tomorrow People, homo-superior eternals who have lived among man and shaped our world. In the first story, a young Lethbridge Stewart finds himself in love with Persephone and he must engage in an archetypal hero's journey to the Underworld to save her from Hades. In the second part, the older Brigadier and the enterprising Doctor find themselves in a traditional Doctor Who adventure working to uncover a mystery that leads them to confront past events and a madman, Hades, set out to remake the world for his rule.
One aspect I found quite interesting was just how similar many plot points this book in fact had in common with a book like RAGS, which was critically acclaimed but, I felt, not exactly in the mold of Doctor Who. In my review of that novel, I suggested that the book would be better without the Doctor Who stuff, which sort of slowed it down or digressed it away from its true strengths. With a story that involves tainted drugs that cause madness, a myriad of related rock musicians, and quite the same settings, I often felt that DEADLY REUNION was, in some way, a statement against RAGS, proof that you can have all those ideas but umbrella within a solid Doctor Who story. Instead of the manner in which RAGS offered us cursing god, raping, killing, and suddenly showing the Doctor drive by in Bessie to remind the reader that this is a Doctor Who book, Dicks and Letts gave us the Doctor Who story, and threw in some of the RAGS themes where appropriate to the greater context. It's sort of like the film that's all bold CG effects versus the character driven film in which the effects are there only to enhance the story so they aren't so blindingly noticeable that they distract.
For an Anniversary Book, you couldn't find anything that's more fun. It's a great effort, full of engaging situations and familiar faces. The end happens far too abruptly, but expected so. The young Lethbridge Stewart comes across as both fresh and refreshingly familiar. I'd easily recommend this book to both die hard Doctor Who fans, and to newcomers to the novel range (forty years in and, sadly, those types of Doctor Who fans do still exist). Barry Letts has contributed to his old partnership in such a successful way that this novel nearly redeems Terrence Dicks for the injustice he did in writing WARMONGER. Definitely take the time to read DEADLY REUNION. It's wonderful.