Author: F. Paul Wilson
For this second prequel trilogy (mid-quel?), I could never shake the impression that this would have been a decent stand alone novel that got divided up and stretched into three books none of which was satisfactory on their own. For Fear City, we’re continuing to spend time with Italian Mafiosos, radical Islamic terrorists, and Jack hobnobbing with his secretive girlfriend. If you haven’t read the previous two books, you’ll spend a good deal of time wondering why you should care about those first two sets of characters.
On the positive side, the original of Repairman Jack’s nickname is pretty fun, all of the scenes with Abe worked well, and there’s a creepy torture doctor that fit within the paranormal reality of these books. Less successful was all of the bad guy stuff. In the later books after 9/11, Wilson’s seemed to really focus on the radical Muslims as villains and they feel shoehorned into this storyline. The ending in particular with Jack racing to defuse a terrorist bomb seemed to fly in the face of the type of lay low, mind his own business guy that Jack is in the rest of the books in the series.
Upon completing this one, I’ve read all of the Jack novels, as well as the adversary cycle. What I really enjoyed about this series were the recurring characters that populated Jack’s world and the creative solutions that Jack used to “fix” problems for his customers. Even the worse books in the series provided enough fun moments to make it worth reading, with this book definitely being one of the less great entries in the series.