Author: F. Paul Wilson
F. Paul Wilson continues to milk the Repairman Jack cash cow in Cold City!
Definitely not a blurb you’ll read on this book, but it’s honest. When this book was published, Repairman Jack had already been featured in 16 novels, telling a complete story from his rise as a guy that fixes problems others can’t to the possible hero of a battle between good and evil. There have also been three prequel novels, telling us what Jack was like as a kid and how he had always been tied into the forces that would be at work in his adult books. Oh yeah, there’s also the Adversary Cycle, a six book series that overlaps with the Repairman Jack series. What more is there to say with the character?
Judging from this first book, there’s still a little story left to tell but not a large one. We already know how Jack and Abe met from the prequel trilogy, but don’t you want to know how they became friends? What about Jack’s other friend, the rarely seen Julio who owns a bar? Well, there’s a story to be told there as well. What was the evil Order doing when Jack was in his early 20’s? And was Jack getting any action?
That’s pretty much the extent of the story arc in this book,Cold City which tells about Jack’s life at 21 or 22 in New York City. There’s not a lot of unexplored story left for this character, and in order to stretch this out to a new trilogy of books Wilson ends this one with nothing resolved and very much in the middle of a story. I can’t complain too much because I knew this was a long series when I got into it, and for the most part Wilson has avoided the crappy installments that have plagued other lengthy series like the Ender’s Shadow books or Jack Reacher.
Compared to the previous prequel trilogy, Cold City fixes one of the major mistakes of the high school books. My biggest problem with those books was how Jack experienced so much crazy and paranormal stuff, and but was also a complete skeptic when we first met him in The Tomb as an adult. Although there was some supernatural stuff present in this book, none of it was something that Jack would notice as being odd (and many readers could probably miss as well**).
The fix-its that Jack tries are pretty amateur compared to his best stuff in other books. For the most part that’s ok, as he’s not supposed to be the confident professional of the main series yet. If you’re hoping for a very clever fix in this book nothing is even to the level of the locker hi-jinks from the last young adult book. What is here though is not bad. We get a look at Jack getting his first gun, learning Abe’s secrets, and even deciding what sort of moral code he’s comfortable having in a post first murder world. I get the feeling that the next two books will all just be completing this storyline, and if that’s the case I’d much rather this have been released as one lengthy prequel book than an entire trilogy.
**One rule of the Repairman Jack series, any time a dog is mentioned, it is tying into a supernatural force for good.