After reading F. Paul Wilson's recent YA prequels about Repairman Jack's earliest adventures -- things that happened to him before he was even known as Repairman Jack -- I knew it was finally time to sit down and read the series in order. Back in 1984, The Tomb introduced readers to Repairman Jack. It's been re-released a few times, with details updated -- cell phones added and so on -- to keep it set in the present day.
Jack has no last name, no social security number, and no bank account. He keeps his life savings -- in gold Krugerrands, no less -- taped to the pipes in his apartment. He makes his money "fixing" things -- but not appliances. For a fee, he'll fix your problem. But only if he thinks it's a problem that needs fixing -- although he's technically a career criminal, Jack has a stricter moral code than most law-abiding citizens.
In The Tomb, Jack is juggling two seemingly-unrelated* cases: He's looking into the mysterious disappearence of his ex-girlfriend's great aunt, and he's trying to locate a stolen necklace for Kusum Bahkti, a member of the Indian Delegation at the United Nations. Turns out, though, that the necklace is no ordinary necklace...
First off, reading The Tomb made me realize what an excellent job F. Paul Wilson did with the YA trilogy -- it's completely believable that Young Jack would grow up into this guy:
Jack loathed his exercise routine and embraced any excuse to postpone it. He never missed a day, but never passed up an opportunity to put it off.
As with all of the other Repairman Jack books I've read, Jack's pure awesomeness overrides the less-awesomeness (mediocrity is too harsh) of the writing. He's a fascinating guy who's enjoyable to be around, and if that means putting up with the tired Guy Looks in a Mirror to Prompt a Passage About His Physical Description routine, well, I'm okay with that. I found it more difficult to swallow the passages from Kusum's perspective, which were stilted at best and hideously stereotypical in the Western Infidels! flavor at worst, but I'll put up with a lot to spend time with Jack.______________________________________________
Book Source: Finished copy supplied by the publisher.
Cross-posted at Bookshelves of Doom.