Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Legacies, by F. Paul Wilson

Following the success of his 1984 bestseller The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson brought back the star of that novel, Repairman Jack, in a 1998 follow up, Legacies.  Jack is an intriguing character, worth bringing back.  In fact, Legacies is the second of at least fifteen Repairman Jack novels.

Legacies starts out with Jack's friend/lover Gia calling on him recover some Christmas gifts that have been stolen from the AIDS clinic where she volunteers.  Of course he recovers them in dramatic yet anonymous fashion.  Dr. Clayton, who runs the clinic, is impressed with his work and enlists him to help with a problem on her own.  She has inherited her father's house, but she wants nothing more than to destroy it.  She certainly doesn't want her good-for-nothing half brother to get his hands on it.

The house holds terrible and wonderful secrets, but nothing but horrible memories for Dr. Clayton.  Along with Dr. Clayton's brother, a group of Arabs and a mysterious Japanese man have their eyes on the house.  Jack ends up at odds with all of them.  It won't surprise readers familiar with Jack that all of them die.  Jack is too hard to kill.

I expected that the house would have some kind of supernatural significance, like a portal to the underworld ready to unleash the creatures from The Tomb onto the streets of New York.  Legacies does not go that route.  Wilson does explore evils of real life, which are even worse: pediatric AIDS, the ravages of drug addiction, and child pornography.

Jack is the kind of hero who is more clever than his adversaries, just enough to make things interesting, but not so much that he doesn't get in plenty of scrapes of his own.  I do find it hard to conceive of his living "off the grid" in the middle of Manhattan, with no SSN, no bank account, not trace of his existence.  That adds to the mystery and intrigue of Jack's legend.  Legacies is a fun, dark thriller, with enough Jack to make readers want to come back for more.

2016 Reading Challenge: A book written in the twentieth century

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