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Spotlight on: The Haunted Air: A Repairman Jack Novel

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The Haunted Air: A Repairman Jack Novel by F. Paul Wilson F. Paul Wilson, The Haunted Air: A Repairman Jack Novel

Read more about my history with the Repairman Jack series -- and F. Paul Wilson's work in general -- in my review of the previous book in the series, Hosts.

F. Paul Wilson continues his popular (and constantly improving) Repairman Jack series while putting his own stamp on the familiar haunted house tale. Repairman Jack is absolutely the most intriguing series character running today -- a mercenary with no official identity but a solid moral foundation, he "fixes" situations that are outside the realm of normal legal channels and that generally involve some supernatural elements. And I wait eagerly for the release of each succeeding entry.

The Haunted Air is by far the best novel in the series that I have read since the inaugural The Tomb. I thought Hosts was great until I read this one. Wilson has really caught his stride and is able to further develop the characters of Jack, his girlfriend Gia (and her daughter Vicky), and his friend and supplier Abe -- as well as their relationships to each other -- while continuing to invent plausible fantastic scenarios that put them deeper and deeper in peril. The Repairman Jack series can always be counted on for thought-provoking storylines as well as heart-pounding, pulse-racing, eye-widening climaxes.

Two brothers, Lyle and Charlie Kenton, run a sham psychic business out of their historic home, Menelaus Manor, under the names Ifasen and Kehinde, respectively. They have, over the years, quickly boosted their clientele by stealing them from competing psychics, and somebody has decided to get revenge. Drive-by shootings and mysterious door openings and closings are only the beginning. Once Jack gets involved, however, the intensity is turned way up as he decides to confront the suspects -- a competing psychic -- on her own turf; he gets to scam the scam artist.

Further investigation brings up secrets about the house, its previous owner, and a spirit out for revenge. On top of all this, Gia fears she may be pregnant. How can a child have a father with no identity? Would Jack be willing to give up his Repairman Jack lifestyle to become Citizen Jack?

It is this extra layer of emotion that raises The Haunted Air above the usual fare. Wilson gets into the minds of his characters, especially tricky with a man like Jack who is such a physical presence, and lets us know how they feel about the events, as well as taking us on a rollercoaster ride of fear, thrills, and suspense--all the while dropping clues to the upcoming confrontation with The Otherness--making sure to deliver a whiz-bang conclusion that tops anything else he has written.

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