For those who came in late, F. Paul Wilson has been writing about the adventures of a reluctant hero, known to his customers and allies as Repairman Jack, for several years now. Jack, who had his first solo adventure in Wilson's novel The Tomb, plays a key role in the author's justifiably praised Adversary cycle. Since The Tomb, Wilson has treated readers to eight uniformly excellent installments in Jack's saga, providing stories with a unique balance of action, adventure, humor, and philosophy.
As the years have passed, Jack's adventures have grown more and more fantastic, and, sadly, lethal. Jack, who has been told that he is actually no more than a pawn in a cosmic chess game between two entities known as the Ally and the Adversary, has suffered several significant losses during those adventures, which have seen the deaths of several family members. In Harbingers, Wilson ups the ante significantly, as Jack encounters a group of zealots who strive to do the work of the Ally, even if that includes the slaughter of innocents. Jack initially views them as allies, but eventually begins to have doubts about their methods and activities. Is the group what it says it is? And, if it is, is it being manipulated by otherworldly forces? Jack has to find the answers, or else face personal tragedy once more.
Looking back, it's hard to believe that Wilson has actually reached the ninth (tenth if you count The Tomb) installment in this ongoing saga. It's also difficult to believe that Wilson could sustain the quality and momentum of the series the way he has, but it's true--each tale is a stepping stone towards the ending that Wilson has already written, essentially back story to a tale that's already been told. It's a tribute to Wilson's writing skills that he's been able to make readers care so much about this character and his supporting cast, and in such a consistently surprising and entertaining manner. Jack, whose adventures recall those of the great pulp heroes such as Nayland Smith, Doc Savage, and The Shadow, is truly a hero for the ages.
I'm biased. I admit it. I'd be thrilled watching Jack fix absolutely anything, like a TV. Or a cat.
But this was a particularly good entry in the series for two reasons.
First, because there's a huge twist in the middle of the book that you'll never see coming (a spear has no branches...), and second, the ending was actually emotional.
Wilson is the master of blending horror and action, and in this aspect, Harbingers doesn't disappoint. There's a high body county, a really fun scene in a rigged building, and some great minor characters to compliment the regulars.
But there's also a lot revealed in this book, and many secrets that were hinted at in earlier novels are finally answered.
If you've never read a Repairman Jack book before, you'll enjoy the supernatural thrills. If, like me, you're a huge fan of the series, you'll be salivating over this book. It's well worth the collector's pricetag.
on June 4, 2006
Better than the last repairman Jack book, Infernal.
The reader below doesn't understand the reason for the $66 price tag.
The reason is, this is a special collectors FIRST EDITION of which there are only 500 signed copies in existense.
The 'official' release will take place sometime this fall with a price tag around $20.
This happens every year when a new Repairman Jack story is released.
There went another all-nighter spent tearing thru F. Paul Wilson's new book HARBINGERS. This author is so good at laying that trap for his readers. You know, the one that makes you go, "Okay, just one more chapter, really - and then, I'll go to sleep." Well, after the not-as-good INFERNAL, Repairman Jack is back and never better than in this new installment. And, this time out, Jack is run thru the wringer like he's never been before. But, as usual, Jack finds a way to "fix" things. Well, kind of.
SPOILERS begin: About a month has elapsed since the events of INFERNAL. Jack hasn't been himself for the past weeks, feeling lethargic, indifferent, and, well, depressed. He hasn't taken a "fix-it" job in a while, and he still doesn't feel like taking one. But he just can't say no to Timmy O'Brien, one of the regulars at Julio's bar. Timmy asks Jack to look into the disappearance of his teenage niece, Cailin. Jack's efforts lead him to a vigilante-minded trio dressed in black and sunglasses. A game of cat-and-mouse with the trio directs Jack to a warehouse in the Bronx, where he learns of the Yeniceri (Jannisaries), an elite task force thousands of years old. There, he encounters one of the Oculi, which is a group of men and women who act as conduits for the Ally (if you don't know about the Ally, the Adversary, the Otherness, the Sentinel, and the Heir, don't worry; the book lucidly explains all). Jack is asked to join the ranks of the Yeniceri to help combat the Otherness, a malignant, all-powerful presence intent on possessing and remaking our world, and not for the better. Jack is torn between his loner mindset and the lure of being involved in something that could actually prove to be effective against that old evil. But, whichever choice he makes, there are no more coincidences in his life.
Believe me, so much more stuff goes on than what's mentioned above. There's an update on Jack's attempt to legalize his identity (he's gonna be a dad, after all). Our favorite F. Paul Wilson boogeyman makes an appearance and once again wields his seemingly limitless powers and continues to taunt Jack. Another enigmatic woman with a dog shows up. The three people Jack loves most are again imperiled, this time by an unlikely source. Cat and mouse games abound, both on a personal and a cosmic level. And, as usual, Jack gets a chance to get his "fix" on, most especially, late in the book, in the warehouse sequence where he pretty much toys and then disposes of four, highly skilled bad dudes.
Fair warning. Although, in past books, Jack's circle of family and friends have been steadily decimated, HARBINGERS really raises the stakes in terms of his loved ones being placed in jeopardy. This, probably, is as close to the breaking point that Jack has ever gotten. And the fact that he resolutely refuses to give up hope and keeps on chugging, doing his best to fix things, is one of the many reasons Repairman Jack is one of my all-time favorite literary characters. Not in his normal "fix-it" gigs, but, rather, in the grand scheme of things, Repairman Jack is so much an underdog. He's trapped in a situation he desperately doesn't want to be in and placed in an unenviable position where he's slated to be the champion designated to face off against an all-powerful, malevolent, cosmic awareness. Yet, he remains...plucky and defiant and very human. Man, I love this dude. Like the book blurb said - when the fit hits the shan, you call Repairman Jack.
on March 13, 2007
I just finished this novel. I kept hoping that the ending wasn't going to be the incredible soul-crusher that I was afraid it was going to be.
Not going to say whether it was or not, as that would be a spoiler.
Suffice it to say, the story kept my attention even when it made me wince in sympathetic pain. I'm seeing this headed for a seriously revised version of "Nightfall", forward to which I am most certainly looking.
I will say that the more we learn of the Ally, the more Lovecraftian it seems to me (the later, good Lovecraft of "Shadow out of Time" and "At the Mountains of Madness"). This is by no means a dig at Mr. Wilson - skillful use of Lovecraftian tropes is a rare and beautiful thing.
And you can bet I'll be keeping my eyes open for 'Bloodlines'.
on September 15, 2007
OK I'm a big fan of Repairman Jack, and I found this book to be a pretty solid entry in the series. This volume majorly moves ahead the continuing story elements and the arch-villain Rasalom appears; and I get the feeling from this book that the series must be heading to a conclusion soon. Some answers to big questions are found here, loose ends tied up from previous books and tragedy strikes Jack once again. An engrossing read.
on September 18, 2007
I discovered Repairman Jack quite a few years ago in The Tomb and have been hooked ever since. Great story telling that never lets you down. Harbingers continues the saga in an imagination grabbing story that you will hate to put down and want MORE when you finish!!
on May 14, 2007
I enjoyed this read very much. It brought all the loose ends of Jacks life into focus and made sense of the whole series. I haven't read his earlier books yet, but I'm looking forward to them as well. Great book and enjoyed Wilson's realist style of writing. The Author takes you through a journey of realistic adventure and you feel like you are experiencing every move. Picture words are very easy to form as Wison artfully moves you on a roller coaster of action and emotion. I'm hooked on Repairman Jack series and this book is probably his best so far.
Oh, look out! It's bliss time! In the 9th Repairman Jack novel, INFERNAL, which preceded HARBINGERS, Jack (a self-employed "fix-it" expert who aids those in need who have run out of legal solutions) was left raw and vulnerable after great personal losses that occurred after the discovery of a strange device that should never have been unearthed. Still reeling from said losses, Jack is trying to get his head together at his regular hangout, Julio's, when one of the other regulars named Timmy tells Jack that his teenaged niece is missing. The police aren't helping, and Timmy knows something has happened to the girl. When Jack begins his inquiries, he is plunged into a horrific netherworld in which it is beginning to become clear that Jack is part of much larger and more desperate battle than he has heretofore envisioned. And when his family is attacked and injured, Jack gets very angry. And when Jack gets very angry, people begin to die. Strap yourself in for a very dark ride with my favorite serial character, Repairman Jack. If you're new to the series, you can catch up by clicking [...], where you'll find information about the characters and plots that encompass this stunning series. I can't say it enough: Repairman Jack rocks!
on October 9, 2007
I've been a huge fan of Jack since the beginning of the series, and Paul keeps on writing excellent follow-ups. I'm not a huge fan of the hero losing all his friends and family, but in the case with Jack, it is handled well and fits into the plot.
I found this a very easy read. He keeps the chapters short and everything moves along. I like the Gia/Vicky angle but at the same time, like one other reviewer said, he was glad when that story thread ended. I agree somewhat. They are a huge part of Jack's life, but I also dread this turning into a soap opera. Luckily, it hasn't yet, and if I were to have any criticism, that would be it.
I also like Paul's nod to another one of my favorite writers, in that Jack is a member of the Doc Savage fan club.
Paul continues to revel in the atmosphere of New York City and though I've never spent any time there, I like stories that delve into the Big Apple.
Overall, this is a great continuation of the series. Some questions are answered while others are raised, and some are still not resolved. Like the others in the series, I want it to go on. I personally hope he never reaches the end of it, but that's just me. Highly recommended.