"Nightworld: A Repairman Jack Novel" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Tor Books
Written by F. Paul Wilson
2012, 400 pages, Fiction
Released on May 22nd, 2012
I've been a Repairman Jack fan for years. Having been the centerpiece of over 15 novels — as well as a few short stories — Jack is a fix-it man, taking on cases and situations where the law just can't help. More often than not these jobs have a supernatural spin, usually having the perfect marriage of horror and thriller. So naturally I was excited to tear into Nightworld, the latest in the Repairman Jack universe.
Before I go any deeper, it should be mentioned that Nightworld was originally published over 20 years ago but has recently been re-released in this revised edition. As this was my first time reading Nightworld, I could not give detail on the differences between this and the original publication. However, after some research on the interwebs, it looks as if author F. Paul Wilson elaborated on Jack's involvement in what is known in the "Adversary Cycle". Full disclosure, while the series of books that make up the "Adversary Cycle" takes place in Repairman Jack's universe, I've only read three of the six: The Keep, The Tomb, and now Nightworld. The others, The Touch, Reborn, and Reprisal have been on my ever-growing list of books to read, but I've not had the privilege yet. I can say with certainty, though, that you'll want to read those first before jumping into Nightworld as there is quite obviously a ton of backstory that you need to know to truly appreciate this book. With that, let's get into it.
Nightworld's opening grabs you right off the bat. First, days start getting shorter. The sun has started to rise a little later and set a little sooner each day. As Earth is heading into perpetual darkness, holes start appearing. Each night, monstrosities not of this world make their way out of these bottomless pits and wreak havoc across the continents until the sun rises. And since the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, pretty soon things are going to suck hard. This is a global epidemic.
Yet one building is untouched by these creatures, one that overlooks a hole in Central Park and there's good reason for this. The building is the home of Glaeken, who Rasalom — the being behind the evil goings on — has a major score to settle with, one that's decades old. So he is saving Glaeken for last, making him watch as the world around him crumbles. But Glaeken has a plan of his own to stop Rasalom, and needs the aid of Repairman Jack and a young boy to overcome the darkness that is coming.
After finishing Nightworld, there were two things I wished. One was that I had read all of the books in this series so I would know more of what the hell was going on. The book isn't confusing by any stretch, and I definitely got the gist of the history, but there really is a ton of backstory that I was not privy to. It would like be jumping into the final season of a non-procedural TV show and expect to know the history of the characters. You just won't enjoy it as much as you should. This isn't Wilson's fault, however. Not by a long shot. He did an admirable job of making sure I knew enough to keep the book more than enjoyable. I just have this gnawing suspicion that I would have gotten so much more out of Nightworld if I were up to date.
The second thing I had wished for, and I don't know if this falls to Wilson or the publisher, was that "A Repairman Jack Novel" had not been placed as the subtitle to Nightworld. Sure, Repairman Jack is in this quite a bit, but it's far from a Repairman Jack novel that I'm used to. This is more of a Glaeken / Rasalom novel if anything. Jack plays an important part, but ultimately the fate of the world doesn't rely on him as it does in the other novels of his series. This caused a bit of a disappointment because the title led me to believe that Jack would be the main character when he's not.
However, even with those issues, at no point did I want to put the book down. As a matter of fact, there were a few times when it was late, I was tired, but I still pulled the "just one more chapter". You know how that goes, with "one more chapter" never being just one. In addition, if anything, Nightworld has compelled me to pick up the other in the series because even though it's (apparently) the last — and I already know how it turns out — I still want to know what led to this point. That's what a great writer can do, and F. Paul Wilson is a great writer.
Nightworld has action, horror and thrills throughout and is well worth a read. Those looking for a typical Repairman Jack novel may be disappointed, but if you pick up the five other novels in the "Adversary Cycle" first you will have a good time with this one.