23 September 2010

F. Paul Wilson - The Tomb (A Repairman Jack Novel)

  • Author: F. Paul Wilson
  • Title: The Tomb
  • Publisher: Tor 1998 (First Published 1994)
  • ISBN: 0 812 580370
Repairman Jack is cooler than you. He's a hard assed professional ass kicker who lives off the grid, and uses his lightning fast mind and vast collection of weaponry to exact vengeance on the deserving, on behalf of those who desire vengeance (and can afford the service). This novel opens with Jack tracking down and breaking both wrists of a guy who robbed an old lady of her necklace, for which he is well paid by the old ladies grandson, a mysterious, one armed Indian man.

And that is pretty much Jacks deal. People pay him to 'fix' things for them, and although he is not troubled by severely hurting or even killing the bad guys, he is fairly choosy about who he works for. He would not, for instance, take on a job beating up a cop on behalf of a drug dealer. He might give a hotshot to a drug dealer on behalf of a grieving mother, however. He charges for this service, although it is suggested that he doesn't always charge (or hardly charges) his clients when they are poor.

And so we are dumped face first into the tumultuous world of Repairman Jack, where his friendships, love life, family and occupation constantly clash with each other in the name of justice and getting by. And just to make things a little more interesting, Jack has a habit of attracting the weird....as in monsters, magic, demons and goddesses. That kind of thing. Even though he doesn't believe in it. Because we all know that just because you don't believe in something, doesn't mean it doesn't believe in you....

Wilson has crafted a brilliant character in Jack. He's mysterious without being a weirdo about it, he's brave enough to get the job done even though his fear is evident, and he is quick witted and kind hearted in a way that makes the reader wish they had a friend like Repairman Jack. He's a great guy, who is genuinely trying to make the world a better place, although he might not admit it in such a straightforward manner.

Wilson's novels straddle the line between outright horror and urban fantasy, but with plenty of reference to detective novels, and often a touch of old fashioned romance novel, although this is not Jacks strong point. Rather, Jack is an exceptional man with an admirable (although highly illegal) mission in life, but his social and romantic efforts are strained to say the least.

I loved this book, and I am really looking forward to finding more stories in this series.  Apparently it is also known as "The Adversary Cycle"  although I haven't seen this written on any of the books so far. Anyway, it's a great read. Fairly quick, certainly not complex, just straight out urban adventure, with a nice twist of the weird to make it interesting. Good fun!