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.
The Last Christmas: A Repairman Jack Novel by F. Paul Wilson
Crossroads Press (September 2019)
370 pages; $25.94 hardcover; $18.06 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
It can be a dicey thing when an author brings back one of their beloved series characters after closing off that character’s series with such a satisfying conclusion. In the back of your head, as a reader, you’re thinking, “I just want one more adventure with one of my favorite literary characters.” And yet, when that does happen…there’s enough anxiety to give you pause. Maybe the story just won’t read the same as the others. Maybe it won’t have that same snap the other installments had, or, if the author is creating a new adventure in the middle of an already completed series, maybe the story will cause too many continuity errors to be thoroughly enjoyable.
As I’ve written this series, I’ve found it necessary to achieve a tenuous balance in my recommendations and recountings of the horror which has impacted me as a reader and writer. I’ve bounced a lot between the descriptions “fun and fast-paced” and “literate and full of substance.” The truth of the matter (as I’ve come to discover it) is this: good fiction and, even more importantly, a good reading diet, shouldn’t ever cater to one end of the spectrum exclusively. Stories should move us emotionally, they should make us ponder the world around us, our existence, and life in general. They should say something about the human condition.
It’s time for a return to the Secret History of the World by the iconic Dr. F. Paul Wilson. That should be enough reason to pick up this short novel about the plant where Nicola Tesla conducted some of his most dangerous experiments. This should serve as an appetizer to the return of Repairman Jack sometime in the very near future (yes, it’s actually happening). For the many fans of both Jack and the Adversary Cycle, Easter eggs abound everywhere, adding to what is a thrilling story on its own.
I first read F. Paul Wilson’s The Touch way back in 1986. I was a twenty-five year old boy, rabidly in love with horror. And after The Keep, The Tomb, and some short pieces I had read, F. Paul Wilson was one of my favorite writers.
There’s a section near the beginning of The Touch. It’s describing a seafaring historical area of a small town…
The Illusion almost worked. He could almost imagine Ishmael, harpoon on shoulder, walking down the harbor toward the Pequod…passing the new Video Shack.
Well, nothing was perfect.
I loved that. I was a modern young man and I was head over heels for the home video explosion. It was a perfect time for me. A perfect time to be a horror fan.
Panacea by F. Paul Wilson
Tor Books (July 5, 2016)
384 pages; $19.79 hardcover; $12.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
What would the world do with a panacea, a drug which cured all, no matter how severe the illness? Would it bring peace and prosperity to all, or send humanity into chaos and war?
Also, would the drug be able to cure the longing readers have felt since F. Paul Wilson wrapped up the final tale in the Repairman Jack series, Fear City? Such withdrawal has been painful for the countless fans of one of the most iconic series in thriller history. Panacea might just be more than the new novel from Dr. Wilson; it might satiate his audiences with the tease of a brand new series that entices the reader with wonder, awe, and annoyance that another year or so might have to pass before the next installment materializes.