Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"HARBINGERS" by F. Paul Wilson

For those out of the literary loop, Repariman Jack is a reoccurring character in no less than ten of Wilson's books. Jack specializes in "Fixits" - repairing situations that no one else seems able to. He's almost like a blue collar Bond, except that he's working for himself... sort of.

It's difficult to run down the specifics of the book without giving too much away, that is, I think it's too difficult... You see, the problem with reading the latest Repairman Jack book is that a lot has already happened in the previous books. A lot of that history is mentioned in Harbingers, and I'm not exactly sure what is new to this volume and what has already been explored. So, to avoid giving away what is new to the book is difficult to determine for someone who hasn't read the previous ones.

Still with me?

What I can tell you is this: on Paul's website, the books are described as Horror Thrillers. I like that description. So often, when Dark Fantasy is applied as a catch-all to things that are scary, but not quite full-blown horror, a lot get's lost in the translation. Horror Thriller works for Repairman Jack. Much of the book - and of the series, I'm guessing - is Jack utilizing his knowledge of weapons, explosives, hi-tech surveillance, and the like to execute "Fixits". Of course, then there's this "other" element - or should I say, "Otherness" element.

At any rate, Paul wrote at the beginning of my copy of Harbingers: "Jack's darkest hour (so far)" and that description is apt. There's some major things going on in Jack's life in this book, and most of it centers around Jack trying to assume a normal - or semi-normal in Jack's case - life. Of course, it ain't gonna be that easy. Elements beyond Jack's control, and often beyond his understanding - are conspiring against him.

I really, really dig Wilson's style of writing. Not only Jack, but all of the characters, are very well defined. In addition, the locales seem genuine, and I have no doubt that the author has been to and haunted many - if not all - the places we visit in the book himself. The result is a large amount of trust on the part of the reader for the author. Early on we learn that we don't have to doubt what we're being told, and that makes the ensuing, horrific and spectacular, events all the more so. The writing is clear, but not condescending. Descriptions of weapons and explosives exhibit extensive research, but don't go over the top technically.I'm not sure if Harbingers is the best place to start with the Repairman Jack novels or not, but it was as fantastic book. I had loads of fun reading it, and zoomed through the final half of the book in no time at all as I was searching out time to read it just because I was way pumped to see what was going to happen next.

Great. So now there are nine other books that I have to read asap.

You can find out all about F. Paul Wilson, the Repairman Jack novels, and the mountain of other titles he's written at his official site, aptly called
Rated 5 out of 5
(Originally reviewed in "The Daily Cave" on August 1st, 2007)

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