Author: F. Paul Wilson
Secret Circles is the 2nd book in the Repairman Jack Young Adult series. I’m going back and reading these after completing the main adult series so some of the mystery of what’s going on is gone but I can spot all the Easter eggs hidden for the readers. This book picks up shortly after the first book in the series but is self contained enough that it could be read on its own. The main plot point that carries over from the two books is a missing artifact that Jack and Weezy found in the Pines that had odd symbols on it. Weezy blames the mysterious Lodge in town with stealing the artifact. This plot point drives much of the action in the book, but Wilson summarizes what happens enough to catch everybody up on the situation.
Each book in this series features some mystery components, along with a situation that Jack must “fix.” In his adult life, Jack takes care of these situations for a living, but as a youth he is driven by his moral compass. In Secret Circles, Jack is faced with a missing five year old, a neighbor abusing his family, and recovering Weezy’s stolen pyramid. Along the way, he’ll deal with a Circus in town, mysterious creatures out in the Pines, and confront Ernst Drexler, the Lodge’s actuator who will have a major role later in the series.
In addition to serving as prequel fan service for fans of the series, Wilson tries to cater this book more to young readers but I worry he overdoes it on his character’s naiveté. While Jack and Weezy (and her brother Eddie) all still ride around town in bikes, Weezy’s love interest has a driver’s license and Jack is running a business while the owner is out of town. The characters make intelligent plans and deal with life and death issues, but seem pretty clueless about whether or not they’re interested in dating or not.
The climax of this book pulls a major concept from the Adversary Cycle book The Touch, and makes it much more questionable why Jack is such a skeptic at the start of The Tomb. With FOUR more prequels still to go (one more as a youth, and three after Jack moves to New York) my worry about the continuity of this series not holding up is feeling more justified. While the individual stories can be fun, if they don’t fit with the rest of the series or actively contradict what we know later on, I’d rather they not exist. That’s just my two cents, and Wilson is skirting the line but he’s not there yet. What’s wrong with just telling some good “Fix-it” stories and more about how Jack became so skilled? Not everything that happens to him should tie into the Secret History of the World saga,