Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Haunted Air

I always know I'm in for a good read when I pick up a "Repairman Jack" novel. The Haunted Air by F. Paul Wilson is the 6th in the series about a guy who lives in present day New York City and specializes in fixing things for people, especially things that no one else can fix. Just about any job is doable if approached the right way. Jack lives off the grid: no Social Security Number, no bank accounts, no tax returns, numerous aliases and a great sense of handing out his own brand of justice.

One of the things I love about this series is that it combines several of my favorite genres. These novels are sort of mystery/thriller novels with a good dose of detective sleuthing thrown in and as we go along, more and more horror as well. Each book in the series has a stand-alone situation (or situations) for Jack to help with but there is also an overall arc that ties them all together. The author combines these Repairman Jack novels (of which he has stated there will be 15 in all) with his other works in the "Adversary Cycle" to form an overall "hidden history of the world." Readers certainly need not read all of his works to appreciate each individual novel and, in fact, according to the author's website, even if you did read every word of his numerous works, they have just barely scratched the surface of this hidden history.

This novel continues that bigger story arc in fine style as we really start getting into the back story of "The Otherness". This is the science-fiction/horror aspect of what is happening in the background and is just absolutely fascinating to me. Jack has been told that nothing in his life is coincidence and we really see that played out in this novel. Seemingly unrelated jobs of helping a couple of brothers who run a fake psychic/spiritualist operation to watching another client's brother for three evenings in a row to keep him from harm are, in fact, intimately connected. This novel has everything packed in, from fake spiritualists to real ghosts, from fisticuffs to gunplay, from ritual sacrifices to Jack's girlfriend really getting into the action. And oh yes, she may be pregnant which plays with Jack's conscience...will he be able to continue living off the grid if he is to become a father?

Great characters, great plotting, great mysteries and intrigue, and a killer "universe" make Repairman Jack one of the greatest series I've ever read, especially the further along I travel on this road.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire