Repairman Jack

F. Paul Wilson
Character Created by F. PAUL WILSON

REVIEWS
I originally wrote these for Amazon.com, but I may have added some spoilers here, so -
SPOILER WARNING!
Some cover images are from the Official Website or from Amazon.Com and some are scans of the actual books I have
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1. THE TOMB (1984)     [*****]

Yeah, there's no Tomb.

I fell in love with Jack on page one, but the ending of this is EVIL! I mean, I don't guess I'm giving anything away when I say the character returns in other books, so obviously he survives, but you wouldn't know it by the end of this one - he's left bleeding to death and wondering if anyone will find him in time!

Repairman Jack fixes things. No, not appliances, like his father thinks. And he's not a security consultant like his girlfriend thinks. No, if you have a problem that the legal system can't handle, then maybe you can hire Jack to dish out his own brand of justice. He's not a hit man, though he is certainly willing and able to kill someone if he has to. As far as any government organization is concerned, Jack doesn't exist. He doesn't have a social security number, so he can't open a bank account or buy a house, but he also doesn't pay taxes and is next to impossible to find.

The book starts out with Jack down in the dumps because his girlfriend Gia has left him. She found his stash of weapons one day and freaked, called him a thug and then took off with her little girl, Victoria. But Gia calls him now in a bit of a panic because one of her elderly aunts has vanished. Jack deosn't usually handle missing person's cases, but this is Gia - maybe he could win her back. Meanwhile, he gets a call from an Indian diplomat who wants Jack to find a very important missing necklace. And he wants it found before midnight.

Unbeknownst to Jack, both cases are intertwined and lead him into a dark world of ancient evil featuring a century old curse, a mad man and malevolent creatures so horrifying, he is almost paralyzed with fear. (They're called Rakoshi). When sweet, innocent little Vicky is threatened, though, it becomes personal.

It's a really exciting read - had to stay up all night to finish it. There are a few nice twists - some I had anticipated and some I hadn't. I can't wait to read the other books in the series now.

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1b. THE TOMB (2006)     [*****]

Because the first book was written some 10 or 15 years before the second, the author revamped and updated this first installment to keep in time with the newer ones. I haven't read the new version yet, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and keeping the five star rating.

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2a. NIGHTWORLD (1992)     [rate]

This is the final book in The Adversary Cycle but features Repairman Jack. One reviewer I read said that the Repairman Jack novels all take place between The Tomb (which is the second Adversary novel) and this one, in which Jack evidently discovers his destiny as Champion of Good in the ultimate battle. I guess maybe I should read The Adversary Cycle novels, huh?

ADVERSARY CYCLE:
- The Keep
- The Tomb
- The Touch
- Reborn
- Reprisal
- Nightworld

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2. LEGACIES (1998)     [*****]

I don't even think Jack gets paid in this one. It is such an intriguing case, though, Jack practically begs to work on it. His girlfriend Gia gets him involved in this. Hmm, she got him involved in the big case in the first book, too. She and her little girl Vicky have been volunteering at the Children's AIDS center and when all the donated Christmas toys are stolen, she is so furious, she hypocritically calls on Repairman Jack to fix it. Oh, she fully admits she is being two-faced about it. She hates the work he does and wants him to stop - except when it's something she cares about.

So Jack goes round to see Dr. Alicia Clayton to see what he can do. Dr. Clayton has bigger problems, though, and Jack gets involved with that too. Seems her father bequeathed the family home to her in his will and her half brother is contesting the will. Big deal, right? Except everyone she has hired to help her out with all this gets killed. Horribly. Someone is following her. She is scared to death. What is so special about that house? The more Jack learns, the more his curiosity gets the better of him. He has to know what's up with that house.

Meanwhile, Jack's father has retired to Florida and keeps calling about appliance repair opportunities down there - he could start a franchise. It's kind of funny, although, obviously irritating for Jack.

It's great! Little pieces fall into place and bit by bit, we learn the truth. It's a case that gets Jack right in the gut. Almost gets him killed, too. (He gets stabbed in the left thigh). Oh, and it was Gia who saved him after he passed out in his living room at the end of the first book. She came looking for him.

Big spoiler: Look up a guy named Tesla - will explain a few things ...

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3. CONSPIRACIES (1999)     [*****]

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4. ALL THE RAGE (2000)     [*****]

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5. HOSTS (2001)     [rate]

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6. HAUNTED AIR (2002)     [rate]

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7. GATEWAYS (2003)     [rate]

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8. CRISSCROSS (2004)     [rate]

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9. INFERNAL (2005)     [*****]

Oh. My. Gosh.

I read this in one day, but I almost couldn't finish it through my tears. This is only the second Repairman Jack novel I've read: I read the first one (The Tomb) and this is the ninth, so obviously a whole lot has gone on that I don't know about yet and there are lots of references to the past, but I got the gist of what had gone on before. This one is a real angst-fest.

If you're not familiar with the character, Repairman Jack is, as the name implies, a repairman. He doesn't fix appliances, though, as some people assume. No, Jack fixes situations. Basically, he's the guy you call when someone has done you wrong and the law can't do anything about it. And he's good at his job.

This one starts with Jack's father being slaughtered at the airport in a terrorist attack. Jack can't claim his father's body because he doesn't officially exist, so he is forced to call his older brother, Tom, back to New York to make the claim. Tom is a judge, but what a piece of work he is - nothing like Jack. Unfortunately, this situation leads to Tom tricking his little brother into an outrageous treasure hunt. What they find isn't much of a treasure, however. It's an ancient artifact - one of the seven Infernals - and leads to one gut-wrenching nightmare that disrupts (and endangers) not only Jack's life, but the lives of his girlfriend Gia,her daughter Vicky AND the unborn child Gia is carrying as well. (Yes, she is carrying Jack's baby). Just when we think all is lost, and Jack is moments away from being swept away to dimensions unknown (and I am crying my eyes out), Tom steps in and takes the stain onto himself.

The ending is a tiny bit Deus ex Machina, but it's sort of plausible in the context of the world Jack lives in. I'm left wondering if we'll see any more of Tom in the future - see if he cleans up his act.

This one is a fast-paced, non-stop tear-jerker that I highly recommend.

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10. HARBINGERS (2006)     [rate]

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11. BLOODLINE (2007)     [rate]

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12. BY THE SWORD (2008)     [rate]

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13. GROUND ZERO (2009)     [rate]

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14. FATAL ERROR (2010)     [rate]

A YOUNG ADULT TRILOGY
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1. JACK: SECRET HISTORIES (date)     []

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2. JACK: SECRET CIRCLES (date)     []

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3. TITLE (date)     []

OTHER - SHORT STORIES AND NOVELLAS, ET CETERA
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"A Day in the Life" (1989)     [*****]

This is a novellette first published in STALKERS (Dark Harvest, 1989 - NAL/ROC, 1990), but reprinted in THE BARRENS AND OTHERS (Forge, 1998).


Poor Jack is having a rough time. A bunch of merchants are being shaken down for protection money by a gang of thugs who know what Jack looks like and want him dead. A little guy is being roughed up because a big mob boss wants to use his laundry as a drop - a big mob boss who knows what Jack looks like and wants him dead. On top of all this, there is someone stalking him! Two attempts on his life in less than 24 hours - how can this be? Jack doesn't like it one bit - he especially doesn't like the feeling that he may be putting his girlfriend and her little girl in danger just by seeing them. Can Repairman Jack fix this one?

Well, we know he can, but the plan he comes up with is pretty creative. All Jack's friends make an appearance: Gia and little Vicky; Abe and Julio - great stuff.

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"The Last Rakosh" (1990)     [rate]

This is a short story first published in The World Fantasy Convention 1990 Program Book (Nov 1990), but try finding one of those now. I can only assume the book that came out this year (2006) with the same name is either a reprint or an expanded version.

I think this story was incorperated into ALL THE RAGE, as a Rakosh features in that one. That image of a Rakosh on the cover, though - what's up with that? They're supposed to be cobalt blue and lizard-like with a shark face - not cute and fuzzy orange.

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"Home Repairs" (1991)     [rate]

This is a short story found in COLD BLOOD (Ziesing, 1991) and evidently integrated into CONSPIRACIES. Having read Conspiracies now, I think I know which story this is and I'm curious if it ends the same as it did in the book.

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"The Long Way Home" (1992)     [****]

A short story found in DARK AT HEART (Dark Harvest, 1992). There is an "AMAZON SHORT" of the same name available at Amazon.com and I can only assume it is the same story?


This was my first introduction to the character of Repairman Jack and I like him. He's not a big fearless tough guy, no matter how much he'd like you to think he is.

This story is about what happens when Jack confronts a deranged killer about to kill a cop. Does he get involved and risk being arrested himself? Or does he walk away and let the cop get killed? Decisions, decisions.

I had to laugh, though - when Jack is checking himself out in his mental mirror, he's wearing steel-toed work boots, but a short time later, his sneakers are whispering along the pavement. What the heck? He changed his shoes in the middle of a shoot-out? Had a good little giggle over that gaffe.

So, I loved the story and will have to go read the books now. So many books, so little time. (sigh).

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"The Wringer" (1996)     [*****]

This is a novellete found in NIGHT SCREAMS (NAL/ROC, 1996).

Another good Jack story. He usually makes a point of NOT handling kidnapping cases, but something about this one hits a nerve and Jack takes it on. Munir Habib is being put through the wringer (hence the title) by a maniac who threatens to kill his wife and son if Munir doesn't do exactly as he says. The demands have so far been more demeaning than serious, but that soon changes and Jack gets involved. The bad guy is seriously deranged in this and Jack gets hurt.

There is one problem and it's with continuity - even worse than the one in The Long Way Home. On one page, the woman had blood on her right breast, but the very next page, it's her left breast. It's a short story and it's the very next page - how could you forget so soon? Is it the writer's fault, though, or the editor's? This is a real bee in my bonnet - editors seem to be phoning it in these days. They are relying too heavily on computer spell checkers. Too many of the books I've been reading lately have had serious mistakes. An occasional typo can be overlooked - I'll just skim right over it, but when the wrong word is used and I have to stop to figure out what the heck that line is supposed to be saying, it ruins the whole flow of the book! Spell checkers can't tell when the wrong word is there if it's an actual word and they very often change the correct word if it's not recognized in their small vocabulary. And don't even get me started on character names! How can you possibly allow a spell checker to "correct" a character's name? Have publishers done away with editors now? Do they just take an MS and run it through a spell checker and then print it out? Is that what's going on?

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"Interlude at Duane's" (2006)     [*****]

This is a short story found in THRILLER (MIRA, 2006).

Jack can't even go to a convenience store for some ice cream without finding trouble. His friend Loretta is in a bad mood and he's weaponless because it's King Kong Day. Heh heh.

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"The Do-Gooder" (2006)     [*****]

This is a broadside published by Lavendier Books.

I'm not really a great collector or anything and I'd never seen a literary broadside before (a broadside is something printed on a large sheet of paper - like a full page newspaper ad), but this sounded cool and I had to read the story, so I got my hot little hands on one just before the run of only 200 sold out. (There were only 11 left when I got mine). Printed on a 14 x 20 inch sheet of heavy textured card stock paper with a cool woodcut illustration, this is so incredibly neat! The story is very short (like, 700 words), so I really can't tell you about it without giving it away, but Jack is so cold in this - I mean, colder than usual.

Last updated Jun 2010

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