The Dark at the End
Author: F. Paul Wilson
Release Date: September 2016
I had looked up the Repairman Jack chronology on Wikipedia back when I started reading F. Paul Wilson’s series of books back around 2012. At that time, I saw that “The Dark at the End” was the last book in the series but that there was another book called “Nightworld” that Jack appeared in and took place well after the series. That book also concluded its own series called the Adversary Cycle. As a result of all that, while reading “The Dark at the End” (and to a lesser extent, “Fatal Error”) I was expecting some sort of resolution for the Repairman Jack series. If that’s your expectation of this book, you’ll be disappointed. Apparently, sometime around when I started the series, the author heavily revised “Nightworld” to provide the proper conclusion to this series and tie all of his Adversary Cycle books together. Since I’m a dork and a completest, at this point I’ll probably read the four books in the Adversary Cycle that lead up to Nightworld before finishing off Jack’s story (don’t want to get those books potentially spoiled).
As the actual penultimate chapter of the Repairman Jack series, this was a good installment although as the scale has gotten grander the series has suffered a bit in two regards. The first is that many of the things that make the series so fun are be benched. In this book, there are no clients or fix-it jobs for Jack, no dorky collecting anecdotes, no trip to Julio’s. As a stand alone novel, it would not work as well as several of the previous entries. The other problem is that the inherent ridiculousness of the Lady is a huge focus and her “dying three times” rule that was created in the last book is on full display at a climactic moment in this one. Likewise, **Spoiler alert** Rasolom’s ability to orchestrate events jumps into hyperdrive in this book, with him being able to correctly predict minute decisions by Jack, Glacon, the Lady, Weezy and Dawn Pickering, but not able to predict a trap when his servants all go missing or that leaving behind the most powerful sword in existence for his only two enemies might come back to haunt him.
Following the events of “Fatal Error,” Jack and Weezy are thrown for a loop when the Lady is attacked my gunmen. Jack also starts to develop a further connection with his immortal buddy based on the transition from heir to the One. Gia, Abe, and everybody not mentioned or part of the O’Connell family take a back seat to the Jack’s group of Otherness thwarters, while Drexler from the Order gets some interesting character development and Hank Thompson takes a backseat. Instead of having the stop a plan or bad guy from doing something terrible (well, I guess that’s still the motivation here) the plot is driven by the good guys actively planning to vanquish/depower/kill the bad guy. That was a refreshing change for the series, until the all knowing bad guy reveal at the end.