Monday, September 08, 2008
Jack: Secret Histories
Jack: Secret Histories by F. Paul Wilson, Tor Teen, 2008
My enthusiasm for Alex Rider, Jimmy Coates and the young James Bond series knows no bounds. The action, thriller, spy genre is great fun and I get a kick out of the young Bond books because of the allusions to the original Fleming novels that author, Charlie Higson weaves into his storytelling.
Alas, I have no knowledge of the Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson so when I received a copy of Jack: Secret Histories I was unprepared for the whoop of happiness and celebratory dance that entlling no. 2 performed. Apparently, she knows the books. She has offered her review.
Jack: Secret Histories is a novel that follows a common trend: take a popular crime fighter/secret agent/private detective and write about what they were like growing up. In this case, the character is Jack from the Repairman Jack series and The Adversary Cycle (also known as The Nightworld Cycle).
I’ve only read the first two Repairman Jacks and I must say that Jack is one of the most amazing characters I’ve ever encountered. He has no last name, no SSN and no official existence. He earns a living “fixing” problems for people who have no where else to turn. And he’s very good at it.
When the entmother, pulled this novel out of the mail, I did a squealing, bouncing happy dance in the living room because you can’t have enough Jack.
“They discovered the body on a rainy afternoon.”
Jack is just…Jack. Almost-fifteen years old, he is the youngest of three children and a loner in the small town of Johnston, New Jersey. The summer is waning and Jack and his two sort-of friends Weezy and Eddie are trying to squeeze the last bit of exploration in the nearby Piney Woods that they can.
First, they discover a series of mysterious mounds in a rarely frequented area of the Woods. Then they find a blank cube made of an unknown alloy that only Jack can open. And then they find a dead, rotting body.
Jack and Weezy aren’t like other teenagers. They don’t have nightmares about the body. Instead, they’re out to figure out more about the murdered man they found and where the black cube came from.
What they didn’t count on was the interference of the mysterious Lodge, or rather, the Ancient Septimus Fraternal Order, a secret society that traces its roots back to before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock.
And something seems to be awakening within Jack – a knack for fixing problems. Not broken toys or appliances, but … situations. It’s a heady feeling, a rush unlike anything he’s ever felt. And Jack likes it.