THE HAUNTED AIR (ADVERSARY CYCLE / REPAIRMAN JACK #6)
F. Paul Wilson
Forge Books / 544 pages / Reprint edition (April 1, 2010)
Everyone needs a hero, even if it’s a purely fictional one. If I ever find myself in deep shit I hope there will be someone like Repairman Jack to dig me out. More compassionate than Andrew Vachss’ Burke. More slippery than John Sanford’s Davenport. Jack is a man who lives under the radar, invisible to society at large, but available to make your worst problems go away — if you aren’t a problem yourself. Play it straight with him and he’ll use his special brand of troubleshooting to help you out; try to use him and he is going to make it a point to make your life a living hell, or maybe make sure your life is over.
Sure, some of his plans aren’t strictly legal, but he gets the job done when no one else can. And all of the people who dig deep enough to find him aren’t in a position to be finicky.
The Haunted Air is Jack’s third outing into the stranger world he met up with in Hosts. The ghosts of his own past are threatening to extinguish his fire for justice, as grief and loss tear at him. He’s just not the same man anymore. Unfortunately, he has a more immediate problem: it just may be that other ghosts have a more permanent snuffing in mind for him and those few he has allowed to get close to him; to love him. That’s a threat he takes deadly serious. Normal or paranormal, his enemies will “live” to regret taking Jack on.
F. Paul Wilson’s novels deliver with solid, well-plotted story lines, of course, but it’s his deft touch with characters that stands out in his Repairman Jack novels. The Haunted Air is no exception. From Gia, the love of his life, to his cynical buddy Abe, the cast list is appealing, eccentric, and often lethal. Jack has fallen in with a crowd of psychic mediums-for-hire and not everyone is playing fair; just the perfect situation for Jack to step in and set things right. Two brothers helping clients to get in touch with their dear departed are an entertaining pair, being as they are polar opposites. A competing duo add a touch of danger and comic relief. An unrelated case brings Jack into contact with an altogether more sinister character who isn’t playing around. Oh! And don’t forget: Jack’s been warned that there will be no more coincidences; even things seemingly unconnected may be linked.
Sounds like a lark? Well, some of it is. But what seems like a strange, but harmless job quickly darkens into something terrifying. This is a case unlike any he’s faced, and may well be a harbinger of his future. If Repairman Jack is going to have a future, that is. This is a whole new world — or worlds — for our hero. The best thing to do now is put your faith in this slightly tarnished angel of mercy and hang on to Jack like your life depends on it. Who knows? It just might…