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Jack: Secret Histories (Repairman Jack) Hardcover – May 27, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Although some may consider this a kind of prequel to his best-selling adult Repairman Jack series, Wilson’s first young adult book gives only a slim indication of the future Jack; here Jack fights evil occult forces while attempting to solve a mystery. Jack and his two friends stumble upon a body and a strange stone pyramid box in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Things grow even more mysterious when the kids discover links to a cult of sorts in their very own town—and cult members start dying off. Most of the intrigue comes from the trio’s attempts to find out what mysteries the black box holds. The plot is helped out far too much by the fact that a sheriff dates Jack’s older sister, who shares what she learns with Jack. Jack. Blue Balliett’s object-puzzle mysteries (The Calder Game) are much more intriguing, but this does have some gripping moments. Grades 6-9. --Connie Fletcher


Repairman Jack is one of the most original and intriguing characters to arise out of contemporary fiction in ages. (Dean Koontz)

The most welcome discovery, for readers new to the thriller universe, is F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack. (Janet Maslin)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Repairman Jack
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765318547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765318541
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born toward the end of the Jurassic Period and raised in New Jersey where I misspent my youth playing with matches, poring over Uncle Scrooge and E.C. comics, reading Lovecraft, Matheson, Bradbury, and Heinlein, listening to Chuck Berry and Alan Freed, and watching Soupy Sales and horror movies. I sold my first story in the Cretaceous Period and have been writing ever since. (Even that dinosaur-killer asteroid couldn't stop me.)

I've written in just about every genre - science fiction, fantasy, horror, a children's Christmas book (with a monster, of course), medical thrillers, political thrillers, even a religious thriller (long before that DaVinci thing). So far I've got about 55 books and 100 or so short stories under my name in 24 languages.

THE KEEP, THE TOMB, HARBINGERS, BY THE SWORD, and NIGHTWORLD all appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers List. WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS won the first Prometheus Award in 1979; THE TOMB received the Porgie Award from The West Coast Review of Books. My novelette "Aftershock" received the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for short fiction. DYDEETOWN WORLD was on the young adult recommended reading lists of the American Library Association and the New York Public Library, among others (God knows why). I received the prestigious Inkpot Award from San Diego ComiCon and the Pioneer Award from the RT Booklovers Convention. I'm listed in the 50th anniversary edition of Who's Who in America. (That plus $3 will buy you a coffee at Starbuck's.)

My novel THE KEEP was made into a visually striking but otherwise incomprehensible movie (screenplay and direction by Michael Mann) from Paramount in 1983. My original teleplay "Glim-Glim" first aired on Monsters. An adaptation of my short story "Menage a Trois" was part of the pilot for The Hunger series that debuted on Showtime in July 1997.

And then there's the epic saga of the Repairman Jack film. After 20 years in development hell with half a dozen writers and at least a dozen scripts, Beacon Films has decided that "Repairman Jack" might be better suited for TV than theatrical films. (We'll see how that works out.)

I've done a few collaborations too: with Steve Spruill on NIGHTKILL, A NECESSARY END with Sarah Pinborough, THE PROTEUS CURE with Tracy Carbone, and the Nocturnia series with Thomas Moneleone. Back in the 1990s, Matthew J. Costello and I did world design, characters, and story arcs for Sci-Fi Channel's FTL NewsFeed, a daily newscast set 150 years in the future. An FTL NewsFeed was the first program broadcast by the new channel when it launched in September 1992. We took over scripting the Newsfeeds (the equivalent of a 4-1/2 hour movie per year) in 1994 and continued until its cancellation in December 1996.

We did script and design for MATHQUEST WITH ALADDIN (Disney Interactive - 1997) with voices by Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters, and the same for The Interactive DARK HALF for Orion Pictures, based on the Stephen King novel, but this project was orphaned when MGM bought Orion. (It's officially vaporware now.) We did two novels together (MIRAGE and DNA WARS) and even wrote a stageplay, "Syzygy," which opened in St. Augustine, Florida, in March, 2000.

I'm tired of talking about myself, so I'll close by saying that I live and work at the Jersey Shore where I'm usually pounding away on a new novel and haunting eBay for strange clocks and Daddy Warbucks memorabilia. (No, we don't have a cat.)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some minor SPOILERS...

Repairman Jack, today, is a paranoid urban mercenary who makes his living "fixing" situations. He prefers to live his life off the government grid, and because he's so average looking, he easily blends into the background. But when the fit's about to hit the shan - and the coppers and the government and the usual agencies just won't cut it - then you call on Repairman Jack. For my money, Jack is about the coolest cat there is, the best guy to count on when the devil's at your doorstep. There are eleven full-length eerie thrillers written about him (not counting NIGHT WORLD), as well as a handful of short stories, and if you haven't clued in to him yet, I suggest strongly that you do so. Repairman Jack is righteous!

But this isn't about Jack as he is right now. This is about when he was a kid, just before his path veered into weirdness. JACK: SECRET HISTORIES is author F. Paul Wilson's first foray into Young Adult fiction and also his attempt to flesh out Jack's blank slate of a past. It is the first in a new series. If you're curious about what Jack was like when he was a kid, or if you've wondered what made him the way he is today...well, get ready, F. Paul Wilson is about to start laying it out for you.

So this is back when Jack was 14 years old, a normal kid living in tiny, lame-o Johnson, New Jersey. But today is when his life starts to get odd. He and two of his friends, Eddie and Eddie's older and offbeat sister Louise (but call her "Weezy"), are traipsing about the foreboding Jersey Pine Barrens, mostly because Weezy wants to show them a stretch of burial mounds. Caught in a downpour, they end up unearthing a black cube carved with mysterious designs. And a corpse.

The kids actually think it's all pretty neat.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chris Van Deelen on December 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Repairman Jack is one of the most intriguing fictional characters in modern literature today.

He's a literal urban mercenary, who takes repair jobs that need to be kept hush hush, or deal with things that are against the law.

Things that people don't want to have the police or other officials involved with.

Even though he's a mercenary for hire, he's still a very ethical and righteous man - even if he is what amounts to a career criminal.

Jack was created by the not only prolific but excellent author F. Paul Wilson. The first novel he appeared in was `The Tomb', which was part of his Adversary Cycle series of books.

The character grew from that point, and even though it took several years for him to appear again, he is now part of his own series which at the time of this review, now spans over ten books.

And they're all worth reading.

Mr. Wilson came up with a brilliant idea to introduce a new generation of readers to his pivotal character. He began to write a trilogy for teens - known as the Secret Histories. The trilogy deals with Jack as a teenager, and all the events that lead up to him becoming the man he is in the other novels.

Before I go any further, my usual disclaimer. I will not reveal any spoilers that you couldn't get from reading the back cover of the novel. I won't ruin it for anyone.

The first novel, Jack, introduces a couple of Jack's friends, people who were important to him as he grew up. We also are treated to seeing what Jack's life was with his whole family.

And, for any fans of the series, there are all of Mr. Wilson's trademarks, things and events that have been mentioned in his series that appear in the first book. A real thrill for long time readers.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In 1983 New Jersey, teenager Jack enjoys playing Atari games with his friends, siblings Eddie and Weezy; his other pastime is riding his bike. Jack prefers to stay away from his home as his parents are pests, his older sister demanding and his older brother an abusive jerk.

Jack and his two buddies are biking in the Pine Barrens when they find an ancient burial site. Unable to resist they search for hidden treasure only to find a more modern but rotted corpse and an odd looking black box with arcane symbols etched on it. Neither Weezy nor Eddie can open it; only Jack can. They soon learn the victim was a member of the elite Ancient Septimus Fraternal Order. Not long afterward other members are murdered. Jack investigates the enigmatic box and the serial killings of the Order.

Repairman Jack teenage sleuth is an enjoyable whodunit as fans obtain a look at the strange hero's early life in suburbia. The story line starts a bit slow especially for those who know Jack as F. Paul Wilson methodically sets time and place more so for older followers of the series. Once we know Jack, the plot takes off as he makes inquiries that places him in jeopardy, but sets him on his future life's path. JACK: SECRET HISTORIES is a wonderful refreshingly different entry that targets young adults, but series readers will relish young Jack in action.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Staats on November 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Secret Histories" is a fun read for the rabid, Repairman Jack fan base, but it would be very, very hard to understand and appreciate for a new reader.

The central feature in most Repairman Jack novels is a series of secular, mundane items to be fixed with a central mystery involving the "Otherness."

In this novel, Mr. Wilson buries the mystery in a nostalgic retrospective of events yet to occur according to where this novel takes place in the time line.

There are writing sins of omission and commission when it comes to mysteries. The writing can reveal too much, or the writer can reveal too little. The original Sherlock Holmes novels generally reveal too little. There is almost no way that a reader could actually figure out what the solution to the mystery is without Holmes' brilliant explanation (that almost always involves introducing entirely new, hitherto unknown facts).

In "Secret Histories" F. Paul Wilson takes glee in stuffing in an extreme amount of trivia from future Repairman Jack novels. For example, young Jack notices that his sister Kay comes back "different" from her time abroad in France. In "Hosts" we find out that Kay finds out that she is a lesbian while in France. Jack's running buddy, goth chick points out that the lodge is connected to the Quakers, but Quakers are not what modern folks understand as Quakers - ala' the Kicker Man from "by the Sword" where we find out that kicker is a bastardization of Q'q'r -- much like Quaker. Oh, I see!

Yes, the whole book is riddled with little factoids.

Honestly, they end up being a significant distraction.

To the washed, rabid fan, Jack comes off as too prescient.
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