Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Jack: Secret Histories" by F. Paul Wilson

Are you a Repairman Jack fan? Have you ever wondered what Jack was like as a teenager? Here's your chance to find out; Wilson is the latest author to delve into the world of YA fiction. Smart man that he is, he's got a ready-made series just aching to be told, that of our favorite repairman's youth. What works even better for Wilson is that this book will appeal to the adult crowd as well as the YA crowd. After all, haven't you been curious about Jack's childhood?

It's a small book with a pretty basic plot. Jack and his friends Eddie and Weezy (Louise, but don't call her that) are riding bikes out in the New Jersey Pine Barrens one day. Weezy wants to show Jack and Eddie some really weird mounds that she found. Unfortunately they find more than they bargained for when Eddie "breaks" one of the mounds - a dead body. There's also a strange cube by the body; Weezy takes it before any of the authorities get there. So who's the dead man? What's in the cube? Why can only certain people open said cube? What's up with the mysterious Lodge in town, the one that only accepts members it invites into the club? There's plenty of mystery, this being a Jack book, after all.

What's really great for long-time Jack fans is the chance to get to know his family. When we first meet Jack in the adult world, his mom has been dead for a few years. She's alive and well in this book, married to his father, and we get to know a little bit about his relationships with his sister Kate and brother Tom. There's a wonderful scene involving pistachios and Tom that pretty much sets the stage for Jack and his "fix-its" of his adult life. We're introduced to Jack's boss at the store USED, Mr. Rosen - a character that reminded both myself and my hubby of Jack's good friend, Abe, at the sporting goods store. We find out in this book how Jack comes by his knowledge (and probably his tools) for lock-picking. There's a lot of these delicious little tidbits, and I'm happy to say that there are more YA Jack books on the way.

I definitely advise you to check out young Jack today. Also, be on the lookout for the next Repairman Jack book, "By the Sword", due out October 14th!!

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