Nightworld. For F. Paul Wilson fans, it’s often in the top two or three novels by the legend, surpassed only by the first book in the Repairman Jack series, The Tomb. Nightworld signaled the end of civilizations as we know it (kinda fitting these days, isn’t it?) and was so popular, Wilson rewrote it to fit the series canon after the original Adversary sextet concluded. While that novel hit on all cylinders and checked every box that satisfied both thriller and horror fans across the globe, plenty of mysteries remained. Wilson has plugged some of those, most notably with last year’s Jack novel, The Last Christmas, and prior to that, Wardenclyffe.
Crossroad Press brings to life a critical trio of storylines in Signalz, which is a prequel of sorts to that endgame, and is officially the seventh book in the Adversary series. First, Barbara witnesses her daughter, Ellie, awaken from a coma, miraculously healed from severe burns, muttering about a mission she must fulfill. Next, Hari Tate, an investigator, takes on an odd job for a hacker who seeks to solve a murder connected to the Ancient Septimus Fraternal Order Foundation. She and Donny Tuite embark on a cross-country journey that leads them to another source of the signal that nearly killed Ellie. The third thread involves Ernst Drexler, high ranking Septimus member whose family founded the Order, and is seeking to ease the prophecy of a mysterious figure, “The One,” that will bring on the Nightworld and leave the Order as leaders of the survivors.
Of course, Wilson tosses in several elements that will undoubtedly surprise many, with some eliciting chuckles (the hapless writer is a hoot, and a familiar one at that), along with other characters who pop up along the way. This novel does not have Jack in it, but it does contain just about every other plot twist and intriguing character possible in The Secret History of The World.
As usual, the writing is lean and quick. The pacing races, yet allows for sufficient exposition when necessary, leading the reader on a head-twisting, roller coaster ride of a book that begs to be read in a single sitting. Let it breathe, though. Take your time and enjoy the several Easter eggs within that fans will adore. For those new to the series, it’s a thriller well worth the price. For the rest of us, it’s pure gold.
Here’s hoping that Jack returns soon, but Signalz proves that the series can thrive without him.