by F. Paul Wilson
Series: Repairman Jack, #1Paperback, 426 pg.
Tor, 2004 (Revised ed.)
Read: April 16 – 21, 2015
After the success of my last try following up FaceOff, I figured I might as well try another. Glad I did, although this wasn’t as entertaining as Vanished.
Jack (insert random last name) is a Fixer. You name it, some sort of sticky situation that the authorities can’t handle, Jack will take care of it. He gets two calls at the beginning of this book. One is from the love of his life — her ex-husband’s (very wealthy) aunt has vanished without a trace, the police have nothing (and don’t seem to care). Missing persons aren’t really his thing, but for the chance to see Gia again? He’ll go for it. The other phone call was from an Indian representative to the UN, a family heirloom was taken from his ailing mother during a mugging and he wants it back. This is exactly his thing, and so he takes on two jobs at once.
Because none of us are new to this, I can say the obvious: neither of these jobs are going to end up being what anyone expects and that the two are linked in a way that Jack could never guess. Oh, and seeing Gia again isn’t going to go well.
There was a very — shall we say, frustrating? — portion of the novel (that went on far too long) where the reader knows or strongly suspects everything that Jack needs to know — everything (yes, there’s a revelation or two that add some color lately, but make no material difference). And this shows up pretty early on in The Tomb, I know it all and Jack knows nothing — he doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know. I can take that for a little while, but this went on far too long.
It takes a while to build, but there’s enough going on to keep it interesting. There’s plenty of history and backstory is woven in — and you get to meet the most entertaining gun dealer I think I’ve ever read. The supporting characters alone justify sticking with this until the action slips into gear.
There’s an element of this novel that touches on the supernatural. Not enough (if you ask me) to call this an Urban Fantasy. Maybe this is a Thriller with UF tendencies? I don’t know what to call it. But if you like Suspense/Thriller novels and don’t mind a sprinkle of something like magic — give this a shot. Good characters, solid story, fine action sequences, enough resolution to call it a “The End,” and enough left unresolved that you want to come back for more. As frustrating as it was, it kept me turning the pages, and (eventually) There’s a daunting list of titles following this one, but one that I think I’ll keep plowing through if the quality keeps up.