Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jack: Secret Histories by F. Paul Wilson

Jack is 14 the summer he and his friends find the body in the woods. A body that has been there for two years and was ritualistically murdered. The more Jack and his friends look into things, the weirder they get. Not only does it seem to involve a mysterious society that has their Lodge in town, but there also seems to be unexplained incidents that lead back to a secret history that people are attempting to cover up at all costs.

This is a prequel of sorts to the Repairman Jack series. A prequel that is in the form of a YA novel. I haven't read any of the adult series, although I have heard good things about them, which is what led me to pick up the book.

The story centers around Jack, a loner of sorts who is very perceptive and has a knack for "fixing" situations. Weezy (aka Louise) who is a conspiracy nut and who is also the champion of the secret history of the world theory. Finally, there is Eddie, Weezy's brother who mainly shows up to annoy us by saying stupid things like "stupidacious" or "awesomacious." It takes place in the early eighties and the novel is peppered with references to video games, television shows, etc. Some of the references were cute, like when Jack's dad is explaining his new computer and how he opted to only buy 48K of ram because he couldn't imagine ever needing 64Ks. Others are more intrusive like when they need to find out something and they wish there was an interactive television that could search all the libraries at know...because its the eighties...and there isn't any internet...bleh.

Its a good mystery, I read it pretty much all in one day. The pace is fast, i liked the secret history, and there were some neat supernatural elements that presumably will be expanded upon in the sequels. Occasionally I felt like the author dumbed down his writing too much. It reads really young like an upper elementary lower middle school book, but the ritualistic killing is bizarrely mature (I'm not even going to go there, it was disturbing).

I wonder how I would have felt if I had read any of the adult books before reading this. I would think it would be fun to see how a beloved character got his start in the "fixing" business. I can't help but wonder which characters are in the adult novels. Weezy must be. His brother (nemesis?) Tom probably would be. I'm definitely intrigued. I'll probably pick one up. There's a whole bunch of them!

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