One of the reasons that I’ve not been blogged as many book reviews as I used to is because I’ve been re-reading the Repairman Jack series of books by F. Paul Wilson.
There are 16 books in the series (I think), with a couple of collections of short stories, and six books detailed the main characters life before the first book.
The first book written, (not the first book chronologically) is The Tomb, which I first read 30 years ago and was given to me by my uncle. I loved it and immediately picked any other books written by the author, although apart from The Keep, none of them kept pace with the exciting roller coaster ride that is The Tomb. A few years later the author wrote a series of books known as The Adversary Cycle, where in the final ‘end of the world’ book, Nightworld, Jack makes a welcome return, albeit as a minor character. Nightworld was first published in 1991.
For those of us who were big Repairman Jack fans, that seemed to be it, but then 14 years after The Tomb, a second full Jack novel was released. Then over the next 15 years another 13 books were published, before wrapping the whole series up with Nightworld.
Of course by the time the events in the original Nightworld came around, many other life changing incidents had occured, meaning that F. Paul Wilson heavily re-wrote Nightworld so that Jack was now a major character. Also, in 2004, the author decided to re-publish The Tomb, but this time updated with references to computers, DVDs, emails and an additional 30 pages.
Who is Jack though? He fixes situations for people, similar to The Equalizer, but not doing it for free. The Tomb was first published at the same time that Edward Woodward was on the small screen as the Equalizer, not the Denzel big screen version. The books are part thriller, part supernatural and part horror.
Not every book in the series is a killer, but personal favourites of mine are The Tomb, All The Rage, Hosts and Crisscross. There are some plot discrepancies as expect in a series this long. In The Tomb, we hear about Jack’s daily fitness regime and how he hates it, but never misses a day. This never gets mentioned in any other book. In By the Sword, Jack is recommended by a woman living in Maui, who was in The Tomb, but we only find out that she’s now living in Maui in Nightworld, where she admits that she thinks Jack is dead. If she thinks that he is dead, why recommend him.
In Conspiracies, Jack is hanging onto the roof of a moving car and with his free hand shooting into the car. The problem is that he is using his Semmerling, the worlds smallest .45, which has a manual slide, so you need to use two hands to fire it a second time. Minor stuff I know.
In one book Jack comes across a struggling author, with a very similar name to F. Paul Wilson, writing a series of books about Jake Fixx, detailing Jacks life. The TV series Supernatural had a similar plot, and Stephen King added himself as a character in his Gunslinger series.
An interesting aside is that F. Paul Wilson owns the digital rights for all of his books, and has done way before digital books were a thing. This means that he publishes the e-book version himself. In an interview he mentioned that even selling an e-book on Amazon at less than £3 or $3, he makes more than he does with a hardback. Well worth buying. I get annoyed at publishers trying to sell an e-book with a huge mark up (Game of Thrones anyone).
If you’re interested in the Repairman Jack series I would recommend starting with the 2004 version of The Tomb, either digital or in print. The older version of The Tomb can often be picked up very cheap and it is a cracking read.