Created by F. Paul Wilson
First introduced in the 1984 novel The Tomb, horror writer F. Paul Wilson’s REPAIRMAN JACK is simply one hell of an an intriguing, compelling character. He’s not a private eye, per se–he’s been called everything from an “urban mercenary” to a “paranormal fixer”–but what he does certainly qualifies him as an honourary eye. He repairs things, and he’s handy with tools.
He lives in Manhattan, with no last name or social security number, and works for cash only. Instead he lives under a variety of names and identities, and tries to keep below the radar of any and all authority. (Can you say “paranoid”?) Although, in this case, it may be justified, seeing as Jack’s Big Apple is chockfull of assorted occult, supernatural and just plain weird peculiarites, from ancient entities of pure evil and cosmic battles between good and evil to relatively humdrum sociopathic cults and serial killers, not to mention 9-to-5 goofballs who go spelunking in the sewer system on weekends.
Thing is, malignant messiahs or blackmailers, Jack is willing to do whatever it takes to help his clients, up to and including murder. He relies on a underground network of contacts, mostly shadow people themselves, from arms dealers to building hackers, and shows a propensity for building some truly lethal little gadgets. Imagine Andrew Vachss’ Burke without the obsession, or television’s Mr. Chapel (of Vengeance Unlimited) without the questionable sanity in a world where things go repeatedly bump in the night and you’ve got a good idea of what Jack’s all about.
Unfortunately, while Jack may qualify as a P.I., the first book I read by him, after much urging from several fans, was 1998’s Legacies, the long-awaited (fifteen years!) sequel to The Tomb, and frankly it registered as a disappointment. A tight little 200-page tale of justice for hire puffed up and padded out to almost 400 pages, I thought it’s length actually diluted and weakened the story’s impact.
But Jack was such a compelling character, I decided I’d give him another shot. And I’m glad I did. The sheer peculiarity of Jack’s world makes even the most far-fetched scenarios worth checking out. And even better, it looks like Legacies served notice that Jack was back–with a vengeance. In 2000, Wilson released two more books featuring everyone’s fave fixit man, Conspiracies and All the Rage, which tie the first two books together, as one fan puts it, “in ways you can’t imagine!”
He goes on to say “It’s almost as if Wilson made the second book a little cut-and-dry in order to set up the kill in the third book. The rest of the books afterwards follow the new underlying theme established in the third book so you might get hooked.”
And there have been several follow-ups. In fact, since Legacies, Wilson has regularly churned out novels and short stories featuring Jack, who has gained quite a large and loyal following. So much so, in fact, that Wilson’s even released a young adult novel, Jack: Secret Histories (2008), that’s set in 1983 and serves as a sort of prequel to the entire series, with a fourteen-year old Jack just discovering his peculiar talents, and in 2020 announced the first of presumably many graphic novels.
Best known for his horror writing, the genre-bending Wilson is also responsible for 1989’s Dydeetown World, a sci-fi novel about a down-and-out gumshoe called Sig Dreyer trying to keep it together in a world populated by clones of dinosaurs and dead movie stars.
- “Jack is righteous!”
–Andrew Vachss onThe Tomb
- “No one does this kind of weird meets crime better…g ripping, fascinating, one of a kind.”
–Joe R. Lansdale onThe Tomb
- “Repairman Jack is one of the most original and intriguing characters to arise out of contemporary fiction in ages. His adventures are hugely entertaining.î
— Dean Koontz
- “The Tomb is one of the best all-out adventure stories I’ve read in years.”
–Stephen King (President of the Repairman Jack Fan Club)
- The Tomb (1984) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Legacies (1998) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Conspiracies (2000) | Buy this book
- All the Rage (2000) | Buy this book
- Hosts (2001) | Buy this book
- The Haunted Air (2002) | Buy this book
- Gateways (2003) | Buy this book
- Crisscross (2004) | Buy this book
- Infernal (2005) | Buy this book
- Harbingers (2006) | Buy this book
- Bloodline (2007) | Buy this book
- By the Sword (2008) | Buy this book
- Ground Zero (2009) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Fatal Error (2010) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Dark at the End (2011) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- The Last Christmas (2019) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
YOUNG ADULT NOVELS
- Jack: Secret Histories (2008) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Jack: Secret Circles (2008) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Jack: Secret Vengeance (2009) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- “A Day in the Life” (1989, Stalkers; also 1998, The Barrens and Others)
- “The Last Rakosh” (1990, The World Fantasy Convention 1990 Program Book)
- “Home Repairs” (1991, Cold Blood)
- “The Long Way Home” (1992, Dark at Heart)
- “The Wringer” (1996, Night Screams)
- “The Long Way Home” (2005, digital) | Kindle it!
- “Interlude at Duane’s” (2006, Thriller)
- “Infernal Night” (2014, FaceOff; also featuring Heather Graham’s Michael Quinn)
COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS
- SCAR-LIP REDUX | Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it!
Written by F. Paul Wilson
- The Official Repairman Jack Website
Quick, in here! Did anyone follow you?
- I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts: Fantasy and Occult Eyes
Eyes that specialize in things that go bump in the night.