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From Barnes & NobleFifteen years have passed since Repairman Jack debuted in Wilson’s novel The Tomb. Beginning with Legacies and now continuing with Conspiracies, we are once again swept up in a high-octane thriller that never ceases to let go of the reader. Repairman Jack is one part Travis McGee and one part the Saint, an enigmatic antihero without identity, working outside the system. Jack’s moral imperative is sometimes questionable but always leads him into the heart of darkness and beyond.
Repairman Jack is a Mr. Fix-It who isn’t afraid to break the law in order to help people who are willing to pay for his services. Jack sticks to his own code though, never trusting any of his clients without first perusing the situation for himself firsthand.
Jack is an everyman who makes sure nothing of his persona is memorable or stands out in any way -- not his looks, his dress, his car, or his demeanor. Now that Jack has his own home page he’s able to advertise his talents on the Internet while remaining out of sight. His latest case involves the missing Melanie Ehler, an "expert" on conspiracy theories who has vanished without a trace. She reappears only once over the television, her disembodied voice urging her husband, Lew, to find Repairman Jack because only "he would understand."
Actually, Jack doesn’t have a clue as to this latest puzzle, and though he’d prefer not to get involved with so strange a mystery, the fact that his name has come up compels him to accept. He attends a conspiracy conference with Lew and is immediately swept up in the bizarre world of paranoia, where every guest has a different theory as to the world’s woes: UFOs may be from outer space or the center of the earth, the government may be in league with aliens or may be covertly fighting them, or perhaps all our troubles are simply caused by Satan.
Before her disappearance, Melanie Ehler was working on GUT -- her Grand Unification Theory, one that would tie all unexplained machinations together under the umbrella concept of a chaotic force known as "The Otherness." Though Jack is amused by the usual eccentric conference attendees and their weird beliefs, he soon comes to realize that there is a supernatural evil at work here.
A demonic creature almost kills him in the hotel basement even while he’s being scrutinized by the leader of the conference, Professor Roma, who seems to know more about Jack than anyone alive should. Also thrown into the plot are the "men in black," who may be involved with a hideous mutilation murder on the premises or might be Jack’s only allies when the Otherness is finally unleashed. Repairman Jack’s craving for anonymity is perfectly juxtaposed by the personal life he can’t escape.
Though the reader is let in on little, we do ascertain that Jack loves his girlfriend, Gia, and her daughter, Vicky, and that Jack also is terrified over visiting his father after a long absence. Though we don’t learn the details of Jack’s guilt and personal familial fears, we discover just enough to make the story thread involving as it sheds new light on Jack’s cryptic character. Also giving us clues to Jack’s integrity is another case he’s working on, which involves a sadistic husband and an abused wife. Jack’s personal code comes into play here, especially when the situation doesn’t end quite the way he expected.
F. Paul Wilson has given us another immensely readable and highly enjoyable novel that literally speeds along without a snag anywhere. Although Jack doesn’t need to exert his cleverness or skill quite so much in Conspiracies as in previous stories, he still faces incredible odds of the supernatural variety. Fans will delight in the return of Repairman Jack even while this novel conspires to garner F. Paul Wilson even more legions of wildly fanatic followers.