Jack: Secret Vengeance (Young Repairman Jack Series #3)

Overview

Everyone loves senior Carson Toliver, the captain and quarterback of the football team, heartthrob of South Burlington County Regional High--especially the girls. Even Jack's best friend Weezy has a crush on him. And unlike most of the popular kids at school, he's not stuck up. Jack even sees him defending a Piney kid who is being bullied in the hall. Which is why Jack is so surprised when Weezy tells him that Carson took her on a date and attacked her.

Jack tries to convince ...

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Jack: Secret Vengeance (Young Repairman Jack Series #3)

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Overview

Everyone loves senior Carson Toliver, the captain and quarterback of the football team, heartthrob of South Burlington County Regional High--especially the girls. Even Jack's best friend Weezy has a crush on him. And unlike most of the popular kids at school, he's not stuck up. Jack even sees him defending a Piney kid who is being bullied in the hall. Which is why Jack is so surprised when Weezy tells him that Carson took her on a date and attacked her.

Jack tries to convince her to report Carson, but Weezy would rather just forget it ever happened. She begs him not to tell anyone, and Jack reluctantly agrees. But then Carson starts telling his own version of what happened that night and suddenly everyone is calling her "Easy Weezy." Jack's concern turns to rage. Carson needs to be taught a lesson. With the help of the Pineys--reclusive inhabitants of the mysterious Jersey Pine Barrens who have secrets of their own--Jack finds a way to exact secret vengeance….

In F. Paul Wilson's third young adult novel, the teenage Jack demonstrates the skills that will serve him later in life as the urban mercenary known as Repairman Jack.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist on Jack: Secret Circles

Will appeal to sci-fi fans.
SFRevu.com on Jack: Secret Circles

Wilson has created an engaging, fast-paced and yet deeply thought provoking work that builds upon (and builds up) the Repairman Jack mythos. It might seem like a book for younger readers, but Wilson's many fans will want to grab a copy right away. Strongly recommended.
Bookgasm.com on Jack: Secret Vengeance

As with the other two entries in this young adult series, Wilson writes to his audience, not down to it. This series has been a welcome way to get more out of his creation.
From the Publisher
“Wilson deftly keeps interest high with well-drawn characterizations, modulating the thrills with details of day-to-day life in the early 1980s. Cracking good fun for teens.”—Kirkus Reviews on Jack: Secret Histories

 

“This is a fun and exciting read that will appeal to all audiences. It is a must have for any library. It is a great book for general entertainment, and it will take many adults on a nostalgic journey to their teen years.”—Children’s Literature on Jack: Secret Histories

“Readers of the adult Repairman Jack novels will enjoy bringing their background to this reading, but, luckily for kid readers, knowledge of the series is not vital to enjoying this smart, spooky mystery adventure.”—Kirkus Reviews on Jack: Secret Circles

“Wilson has created an engaging, fast-paced and yet deeply thought provoking work that builds upon (and builds up) the Repairman Jack mythos. It might seem like a book for younger readers, but Wilson's many fans will want to grab a copy right away. Strongly recommended.”—SFRevu.com on Jack: Secret Circles

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This is a very strange book. It's certainly very readable, and we can easily get involved with the characters and the situations in which they find themselves. But at times it seems to be part of a series; all the main characters may or may not have had all kinds of strange adventures, and two of the adults, who are secondary characters, have mysterious roles which will probably be explained in the next volume. Jack is a freshman in high school; his neighbor and best friend "Weezy" (Louise) is a year older than he. Carson Tolliver, the star of the football team, asks her out, and expects sex from her. She rejects him, and he pays her back by lying to his friends, claiming that they've had sex and calling her "Easy Weezy." The name soon spreads around the school, and Weezy refuses to go back. Jack will not stand for this. He works out a very elaborate and rather nasty way to pay Carson back, which involves breaking into the school and Carson's locker in the middle of the night, figuring out how to leave various doors and windows open, and leaving little messages in the locker that are calculated to make Carson feel humiliated, and even haunted. There's a "ripped from the headlines" feeling here that made me very uncomfortable—I don't like reading about teenage suicides. The setting is a town in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where legends abound concerning the inbred natives, or "Pineys" and their strange ways and "talents." Jack doesn't believe most of these legends, but as he gets more involved in his plans for revenge strange things begin to happen. Could Carson actually have "Piney" blood on his hands? Did he have something to do with mysterious disappearance of one of the neighborhood girls? Stay tuned for the next volume. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
VOYA - Laura Lehner-Ennis
Jack is back. It has only been a few months since his last encounter with the mysterious and ancient Septimus Order and his friend Weezy's investigation of the "Secret History of the World." Now an unfortunate encounter between Weezy and the popular senior quarterback, Carson Toliver, sparks a new adventure for Jack as he tries to fix her damaged reputation. What begins as a series of harmless pranks turns into a supernatural puzzle that somehow involves the pineys—enigmatic inhabitants of the Jersey Pine Barrens outside of town—and of course, Jack must get to the bottom of it. This third book in the Young Repairman Jack series has all the sinister elements of its predecessors, and parts that are more like a contemporary high school novel about bullying and revenge. As in the first two installments, there are unanswered questions that will leave the reader wanting more. Clear references to previous volumes make this not work as a stand-alone, but the plot moves along efficiently and characters are well-drawn—readers will almost find themselves feeling bad for bad-guy Toliver, a teenage boy who has clearly gotten everything he ever wanted and thinks so highly of himself as to be above the law. Wilson's writing style is clean, humorous, and descriptive. All in all, this series is a solid choice for science fiction fans, who should begin with Jack: Secret Histories. Reviewer: Laura Lehner-Ennis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765358134
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Series: Young Repairman Jack Series, #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 363,259
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Read an Excerpt

SUNDAY

Weezy was attacked on a Saturday night.

1

“Jack,” his mother called from down the hall. “Weezy’s on the phone.”

Jack poked his head out from under the covers, forced his eyes open, and checked the clock on the table next to his bed. He saw 8:13 in glowing red numbers. He squinted at his window. A cloudy morning sky peeked around the edge of the drawn shade.

“I’ll call her back.”

“She says it’s important.”

What could be important at eight thirteen on a Sunday morning?

Groaning, he slid out of bed, pulled on his jeans, and padded barefoot down the hall past his brother’s and sister’s empty bedrooms. Tom was finishing law school in Jersey City and Kate had started med school in Stratford. He veered right, into the kitchen where his mother was cracking eggs, and picked up the receiver lying on the counter.

“Hey.”

“Jack, I need to talk to you. Real bad.”

“Well, hello, stranger.”

Except for brief conversations at the school bus stop, they hadn’t seen too much of each other lately.

“I’m serious, Jack. I really need to talk.”

Something in her voice … he couldn’t put his finger on it, but he sensed she was upset. She didn’t get along too well with her folks, especially her dad. Weezy was a little too strange for him. Maybe a lot too strange.

Not too strange for Jack. She was just … Weezy.

Maybe they’d had a blowup.

“Okay. Want to come over for breakfast?”

“No. I don’t want anyone else listening in. Meet me on the bridge and we’ll bike into the Barrens where no one can hear us.”

Weezy … always mysterious. Well, he had some time before he was due for work at USED.

“Sure. Let me get something to eat and I’ll meet you there in half an hour.”

“That long?”

“I’m hungry, Weez. I’ll try for twenty.”

“Okay.”

He smiled as he hung up. Now what? Never a dull moment with Weezy Connell. And Jack wouldn’t have it any other way.

He heard voices coming from the living room—first a man’s, then a woman’s. Radio? TV? His folks never played either on Sunday morning. This was newspaper time. If they played anything, it was one of Mom’s Broadway soundtracks. He went to check and found his father seated before the TV, leaning forward, eyes glued to the screen.

And on that screen—a pile of burning, smoking rubble with fire trucks and ambulances milling around. A caption said Beirut, Lebanon. The little CNN logo sat in the lower right corner.

“What happened?”

Dad looked up, his expression grim. “See that pile of concrete? That was a four-story marine barrack until some crazy Arabs blew it up.”

Jack stared at the rubble. Four stories? It was barely one now.

“An air raid?”

“No. Word coming out is some nutcase drove a truckload of explosives through the front door and blew it up.”

Jack blinked. “With himself still in it?”

“Yeah. What they’re calling a ‘suicide bombing.’ Same thing happened to a French barracks a few miles away. They think the dead count is going to reach three hundred.”

Jack was aghast.

“Are they crazy? I mean, blowing themselves up?”

“Well, the kamikaze pilots during World War Two went on suicide missions, but that was in battle, during a war. These kids were all part of a peacekeeping force.”

“But … why?” He couldn’t fathom anyone doing this.

“Who knows? Some reporter said it was like Pearl Harbor—a sneak attack at dawn on a Sunday morning. But the Japs had the decency to declare war first. And they had a country and an army and a navy we could strike back at. Some group called Islamic Jihad is taking credit for this. Who the hell are they? No one seems to know a thing about them, except they also claimed credit for that U.S. Embassy bomb back in April.”

Jack had heard about that but had been only peripherally aware of it. This seemed different, and was so much worse. He could tell from his father’s expression and tone that he was steamed.

He remembered the Iran hostage crisis of a few years ago, now these suicide bombings. What was going on in the Middle East? Had they all gone insane?

Mom coaxed Dad away from the tube with a promise of sausage and eggs. An almost funereal breakfast followed, the silence broken only by Mom’s futile attempts at conversation and Dad’s muttered remarks about the “inexcusable lack of security” at the barracks.

Jack couldn’t remember ever seeing his father like this. He was a Korean War vet who never had anything good to say about the army. He’d always made it very clear that he didn’t want either of his sons anywhere near the armed services. But he seemed deeply shaken by the deaths of so many U.S. soldiers. Maybe he made a distinction between servicemen and the armed services. Maybe some automatic brotherhood sprouted between guys who had been to war. Like at the local VFW post.

After breakfast he went right back to the TV, and Jack headed for his bike.

 

Copyright © 2011 by F. Paul Wilson

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2012

    So Jack

    The entire three book series of "young" Jack books is well worth the read for fans of "adult" Jack's adventures. My only complaint about this book in particular is that its the last of the young adventures. Wilson captures the era of Jack's youth well by using music and tech references that gave me a chuckle. He somehow switches seamlessly to an adolescent mind-set from the adult books while keeping the integrity of the characters. Best of all, we unexpectedly meet a few characters from the adult books and get a glimpse of their beginnings. Wish there were more.

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  • Posted February 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great mystery, cool paranormal elements

    This book is the third in a series of YA novels portraying the teen years of a guy who grows up to be Repairman Jack, a mercenary in another series of adult novels. I really like this sort of thing--teen books that tie into an author's existing adult fiction, like Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld books which bounce back and forth between urban fantasy and young adult fantasy. This book definitely made me want to check out the Repairman Jack books, because if young Jack is this interesting, he probably only gets better with age.

    Jack's a regular 14-year-old guy living in 1983 New Jersey, but troubling supernatural events seem to shadow him. In this story, his female friend Weezy is attacked by Carson, a popular football player. Weezy gets away from him with only a torn shirt and some scratches, but she knows it could have been worse. Jack is already seeing red, but he's even more furious when Carson spreads rumors about Weezy and she gets mocked at school. It's time for Jack to get revenge, and he actually does have adequate motivation for taking Carson down: the guy attacked his friend with the intent to hurt her badly, then Carson's slander makes Weezy spiral out of control emotionally, which in turn makes her parents want to put her in psychiatric counseling. It's a psychological can of worms, and when Jack begins to prank Carson, even more dark smalltown secrets are revealed.

    Jack is a hardcore kid. He originally decides to smash Carson's kneecaps with a baseball bat and he comes close to doing it, but realizes that attacking an unarmed guy, no matter what his crimes were, isn't fair or just. Here's a boy with the guts to confront a villain but the heart to know when not to use violence, which I appreciated. There are many pointed questions about ethics in this book, and Jack is already grappling with some big issues like what makes right and wrong and what constitutes a criminal act. Apparently, in the grown-up Jack novels, he has become an "urban mercenary," and though I'm not exactly sure what that means, it's probably cool yet morally ambiguous.

    I like the early 80's time frame, because it's not so far in the past that it seems antiquated but it's still far enough back that there are several notable differences in the reality of the story and the reality of today. The kids have to address their problems with the resources of their time; Jack and Weezy have to talk on landlines because cell phones don't exist, Jack can't institute an anti-Carson smear campaign over the internet because nobody has computers, and so on. Then again, Jack can sneak into his own high school at night because complex security systems aren't yet in place, so the low-tech era has its advantages, too

    I was surprised to find some paranormal elements added to what I thought was just a regular adventure-mystery, but once I noticed them, they started showing up everywhere. There's the albino girl Saree who can see auras, and Weird Walt, a hobo-type acquaintance of Jack's who may be weirder than anyone knows, and then there's Jack's new friend Levi, who seems to have some kind of supernatural powers. There are hints at larger conspiracies and some seriously interesting mysteries about why Jack exists at all, which makes this a very good book for boys. It ought to work best for the 12-16 age range.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    superb entry

    In 1983 in Johnson, New Jersey Senior quarterback Carson Toliver is the big man on campus at South Burlington County Regional High School. Almost all the students worship the football team captain partly because Carson knows how good he is at the sport but instead of being a snob he is friendly towards everyone. Even Jack admires Carson especially after watching him intervene when a bully was threatening harm to a social Jersey Pine Barrens "Piney" misfit.

    He is not surprised when his best friend Louise "Weezy" Connell goes on a date with Carson as she has an obvious crush on the star. However, Jack is stunned when a heartbroken Weezy tells him soon afterward that Carson sexually assaulted her. He pleads with Weezy to report the attack, but she has parental issues and fears retaliation so she prefers to say nothing; she begs Jack likewise to remain silent. However no one told Carson to shut up as he brags about that night. With his buddy's reputation in tatters as she is now known at school as "Easy Weezy", raging Jack vows to sack Carson with the Pineys providing support.

    The third Repairman Jack "Secret" youth years (see Secret Histories and Secret Circle) is a superb entry that allows readers to see fourteen year old freshman Jack honing the skills that he will need as an adult working the Adversary Cycle countdown into Year Zero. Fifteen years old veteran sophomore Weezy adds an element of helpless futility as she believes she has no options to get back at Toliver the rat. Jack tries to wrong a right while learning to move and that violence begets violence.

    Harriet Klausner

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