Got a problem? He can fix it.
First introduced in the 1984 novel The Tomb, horror writer F. Paul Wilson's REPAIRMAN JACK is an appealling character. He's not a private eye, per se -- he's been called everything from an "urban mercenary" to a "paranormal fixer" but what he does certainly qualifies him as an honourary eye. He repairs things -- basically he fixes situations for people, and he's handy with tools.
He lives in Manhattan, with no last name or social security number, and works for cash only. Instead he lives under a variety of names and identities, and tries to keep below the radar of any and all authority. Can you say paranoid? Although, in this case, it may be justified, seeing as Jack's Big Apple is chockfull of assorted occult, supernatural and just plain weird peculiarites, from ancient entities of pure evil and cosmic battles between good and evil to relatively humdrum sociopathic cults and serial killers, not to mention 9 to 5 goofballs who go spelunking in the sewer system on weekends.
Thing is, malignant messiahs or blackmailers,.Jack is willing to do whatever it takes to help his clients, up to and including murder. He relies on a underground network of contacts, mostly shadow people themselves, from arms dealers to building hackers, and shows a propensity for building some truly lethal little gadgets. Imagine Andrew Vachss' Burke without the obsession, or television's Mr. Chapel (of Vengeance Unlimited) without the questionable sanity in a world where things go repeatedly bump in the night and you've got a good idea of what Jack's all about.
Unfortunately, while Jack may qualify as a P.I., the first book I read by him, after much urging from several fans, was 1998's Legacies, the long-awaited (fifteen years!) sequel to The Tomb, and frankly it registered as a disappointment. A tight little 200-page tale of justice for hire puffed up and padded out to almost 400 pages, I thought it's length actually diluted and weakened the story's impact.
But Jack was such a compelling character, I decided I'd give him another shot. And I'm glad I did. The sheer peculiarity of Jack's world makes even the most far-fetched scenarios worth checking out. And even better, it looks like Legacies marked the return of Jack's back -- with a vengeance. In 2000, Wilson released two more books featuring everyone's fave fixit man, Conspiracies and All the Rage, which tie the first two books together, as one fan puts it, "in ways you can't imagine!"
He goes on to say "It's almost as if Wilson made the second book a little cut-and-dry in order to set up the kill in the third book. The rest of the books afterwards follow the new underlying theme established in the third book so you might get hooked."
And there have been several follow-ups. In fact, since Legacies, Wilson has regularly churned out novels and short stories featuring Jack, who has gained quite a large and loyal following. So much so, in fact, that Wilson's even released a young adult novel, Jack: Secret Histories (2008), that's set in 1983 and serves as a sort of prequel to the entire series, with a fourteen-year old Jack just discovering his peculiar talents.
Best known for his horror writing, the genre-bending Wilson is also responsible for 1989's Dydeetown World, a sci-fi novel about a down-and-out gumshoe called Sig Dreyer trying to keep it together in a world populated by clones of dinosaurs and dead movie stars.
YOUNG ADULT NOVELS
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