on July 20, 2003
F. Paul Wilson's magnificently rendered Urban Mercenary Repairman Jack returns for another job in Conspiracies, his follow-up to The Tomb & Legacies. Conspiracies also marks Jack's return to the type of Supernatural adventures that Wilson writes so well.
Repairman Jack is hired to find missing conspiracy-theorist Melanie Ehler, who has vanished mere days before she was slated to unveil GUT (Grand Unification Theory), her theory which would unite almost ALL conspiracy theories under ONE gigantic all-encompassing plot against humanity. Melanie's Husband, Lew, is moved to hire Jack after being contacted by the missing Melanie....as a voice coming through the television while Lew is watching The Weather Channel. Jack is soon up to his neck in crackpots as he infiltrates an annual Conspiracy convention (Which provides some BIG laughs to offset the novel's growing sense of menace), and if he ever manages to sift through all of the disparate theories, he just may find himself head-to-head with a VERY familiar baddie....
Conspiracies marks a Grand Unification of a different sort, as Wilson ties Jack more firmly into the mythology of his six-book Adversary Saga, as well as some of his many excellent short stories. Knowledge of his short stories isn't necessary (Although readers familiar with the town of Monroe, the gateway in the New Jersy Pine Barrens, and disfigured serial-killer Carly will be tickled at the sly winks to those and other stories), but I think at least a working knowledge of The Adversay Saga (The Keep, The Tomb, The Touch, Reborn, Reprisal, and Nightworld) is needed to fully grasp the weight and importance of the story. I'm not sure I would have been satisfied with the ending if I hadn't read the other books already. For this avid F. Paul Wilson fan, Cnspiracies is his best book yet, and luckily, there's much more Repairman Jack to come.
on September 29, 2002
First, let me say that Conspiracies is a great book. But I say that because I'm a huge fan of Dr. Wilson's larger 'Adversary' cycle that includes The Keep, The Tomb, The Touch, Reborn, Reprisal, and Nightworld. This story, taking place after the Tomb and before Nightworld, deals with Repairman Jack's attempt to locate a missing lady. He finds himself at a convention of conspiracy theorists, which is run by a highly charismatic individual by the name of Sal Roma.
Now, for those of you who haven't read the Adversary Cycle stories, I can certainly understand your confusion and feeling that this story was incomplete. Let me fill in some of the gaps...first of all, the main antagonist of the story is Sal Roma. In the story, Sal refers to himself as the Chosen One several times and though the story makes no direct statement as to his true name, a bit of simple logic will show that this is really Rasalom (Sal Roma = Rasalom), the evil immortal introduced in The Keep. His attempts to control the earth have been going on since The Keep, and his eternal struggle with the forces of good (represented by the equally immortal warrior Glaeken) is the substance of the Adversary Cycle. Second, the town where the missing lady was living is the setting of Reborn. In fact, the events surrounding her birth are the events of Rasalom's rebirth in Reborn. Finally, the 'other world' that opens up at the end of the story may seem odd and unexplained. However, it makes a great deal of sense if you've read Nightworld. In Nightworld, literally hundreds of these portals are opened to the other world hinted at in Conspiracies. Not only are these portals explained more thoroughly, but we get to see first hand what sort of things live in that other world.
Bottom line is that this story really can't be seen as a stand-alone story. It's a part of a much larger story that Jack plays a part in, with the ultimate answers to this story being given in later volumes like Nightworld. Even though this book doesn't directly answer many of the questions posed in it, Conspiracies does succeed as a story arc leading back to the rest of the Adversary Cycle.
If you read this book as a stand-alone story, you're really missing the best of what Dr. Wilson has written. Read the entire Adversary Cycle. You'll be very very glad you did.
on March 5, 2002
Why one star? Funny, if a book is so terrible that I can tell it's junk from the first paragraph, I don't mind. I'll just put it down and pick up another book. For me, the worst books are the ones that have just enough narrative drive to keep you turning the page, yet fail to deliver at every single turn.
That's how it was with this book; I liked the opening--I really did! Repairman Jack's purchase of a 'new' Daddy Warbucks lamp and his difficulty finding a place for it amidst all the assorted junk of his apartment was a great bit of characterization--enough to hook me.
Where to begin... how about the ending? (No, this is not a spoiler. Read on.) The climax was straight Perils of Pauline. It reminded me of the climax to a story I wrote in third grade, in which an electric car crashes, and the combined vacuum from all the cracked vacuum tubes (yes, I was in third grade that long ago)sucks our hero towards his doom. Yes, that bad--my third grade story and this one. And _Conspiracies_' climax is followed in short order by a deus ex machina resolution (non-resolution, really) that had no set-up at any point earlier in the novel. Then, serving to underline all the loose ends in the novel, Repairman Jack thinks over all the many questions which are still unanswered. Aaargh!
The premise is very promising: Jack is hired to find a missing wife; turns out she's a conspiracy theorist, and to track her down Jack must attend a convention of conspiracy theorists and masquerade as one of their number. Great set-up, but in my opinion F. Paul Wilson fails to deliver. The amount of research that went into this story, I suspect, could be achieved with a Yahoo search for 'conspiracy' and about thirty minutes of free time.
There are also several long-winded bits of padding, worst of all: Jack's interminable discussions with his best-male-friend-in-the-world Abe Grossman, who (guess the religious/ethnic stereotype) says stuff like, "Nu? You next look where for this missing lady?"
Finally, one wonders if the editor was asleep, allowing numerous misspellings, and even (page 311): "The One watched the hole in rapt fascination, only vaguely barely aware of the struggle..." etc. Vaguely barely? And how about the Sunday Schedule of Events, which appears on the terminal page; was this misplaced as an editorial oversight (that's my vote), or is there some sort of deeper meaning here?
Bottom line, this is more than just a sequel to _The Tomb_; it's a shameless commercial for the earlier book.
on January 8, 2001
Overall I liked the story. I think this book will only be enjoyed by those that have read The Tomb. The story fits with F. Paul Wilson's advarsary series, but the story doesn't seem to agree with parts within Nightworld. In Conspiracies he no longer has his ride and borrows Abe's truck, but in Nightworld doesn't he still have his slick car (which is supposed to take place after Conspiracies in FPW time)? Also, Jack seems totally clueless to the large hole that opens up in Central Park in Nightworld, but you would think that he would have memories of almost getting sucked into the one in Monroe.
Sorry FPW, I have to agree with some of the other reviewers. You've done a lot better job in the past. I wish you hadn't tied this one to the advarsary plot and did something fresh with the "Conspiracy". Nice twist at the end, but that was the only redeaming part of the story. If I wasn't one of your fans I would have given this book a two stars, but I know you can do better so I gave it the three.
on November 27, 2000
Tasked by Lew to find his missing wife, Melanie, who, before she disappeared, claimed that only Repairman Jack could find her, most of the story revolve round the conference where people, convinced that conspiracies existed all around them gather The clever twist I could see in this book was that the author, was in the conspiracy to mislead readers who the real victim was in the story. Impressive. I remained blissfully unaware of where the story would lead to until the ending part.
Readers of this book should be familiar with who Repairman Jack was, how his character was shaped and what made him the man he was today, or it would be terribly difficult to understand why he undertook the ¡¥fix-it¡¦ tasks in Conspiracies.
Readers who have not read previous Repairman Jack novels would have difficulty understanding, or even liking him. His heroism did not really shine through, as he remained passive most of the time, reacting to situations rather than taking initiatives and being spontaneous. His devotion to Gia and Vicky was also not well-illustrated, as the 2 ladies in his life had very limited roles in the book. My advice to readers new to Jack: Read The Tomb to know him first.
Also, too many questions remained unanswered. Olivia¡¦s death was not really explained? what did the ¡¥wet¡¦ painting done by Melaine have to do with the story? Why did Jack¡¦s scars itch? I look forward to the sequel which could answer my questions.
on February 25, 2000
I hate giving anything Dr. Wilson writes less than an A+. But here, his novel gets a B. I subtracted one point for the numerous missing words that made sentences incomplete (sloppy editorizing here).
The second subtraction comes from my dissapointment over the cop-out story FPW used to unify all these conspiracies. I did not expect him to revive the Rakoshi mythology. I guess I was disappointed that he didn't try to create a whole new Lovecraftian pastiche mythos/whatever to explain away this phenomena.
Also, the novel was too short, and too much time was wasted, I felt, in having characters getting whacked. I'd like to see more troubles for Repairman Jack, certainly lots more kidnappings of him, like the characters in DEATHLANDS, would pick up the pace. Also, I believe Jack should get a partner to work with him. He does not have the panache of a Remo Williams to pull off his whack-jobs alone. Even Remo has Chiun to relieve the monotony of just following Remo all over the place as he is busily knocks off people. A female or male character who he encounters, with similar background hence Monte Cristo drive, will keep Jack nimble, certainly preventing him from becoming a dull pedantic boy at the very least. Something [an immature bore] that I see Jack sadly turning into already.
Jack needs to grow, or die. Can FPW repair the Repairman Himself? Golly good gracious, Uncle Pete!
on January 21, 2000
No database contains information on Repairman Jack, who applies unorthodox methods to fix problems for people. Jack blends so well into the scenery, no one notices him, let alone remembers seeing him. Though a pragmatic person anchored into the material plane, Jack has battled some supernatural creatures in his time.
Jack's latest case comes to him via his home page on the Internet, which allows the Repairman to advertise, but remain invisible. Lewis Ehlers desperately wants to find his missing spouse Melanie. She appeared on his TV screen while he watched the Weather Channel and appealed to him to obtain the services of Jack. The Repairman accepts the case and soon attends a conspiracy buff conference where Melanie is scheduled to make an appearance. Jack meets the usual crazies, but also senses a malignant supernatural essence trying to crash the barrier into this world. Only Jack can hope to stop the creature from succeeding, but his odds of surviving the counter is slim.
Anyone who has ever read a Repairman Jack tale wonders what makes the man tick? He appears to be a normal person just by the nature of his conversations with his friends, but the average individual does not spend an inordinate amount of time making sure no trace exists of his ever being anywhere. Thus, Jack remains one of the most enigmatic characters around as readers realize they don't know Jack. Placing this puzzling protagonist inside a non-stop, action-packed thriller like CONSPIRACIES leave the audience wanting more novels starring Jack. As with his TOMB AND LEGACIES, F. Paul Wilson provides the audience with a triumphant tale starring a quirky hero who deserves wide fan attention.
on March 1, 2000
I continue to be amazed by the Repairman Jack novels. "Legacies" was nothing like "The Tomb", and "Conspiracies" is nothing like the other two. Each one is a new experience with a different rhythm. I especially love the weird paranormal ingredients in "Conspiracies" that were missing in "Legacies."
What I don't get, though, is why a reader (see one of the other reviews) would want Wilson to remake Repairman Jack (whom Dean Koonts says is "one of the most original and intriguing characters to arise out of contemporary fiction") into a Remo Williams retread. Some people just don't get it.
Don't listen, Mr. Wilson. Keep Repairman Jack just as he is: an original.
on April 6, 2000
"Conspiracies" was a hollow read and a lame sequel to "The Tomb". I loved "The Tomb", read it 2 or 3 times since 1986. However, in "Conspiracies", too much time was spent on developing (or rather underdeveloping) characters that lacked any dimension, and in presenting too many dead-end subplots.
I felt it lacked the tension, excitement, and action from "The Tomb". And I didn't like the tease of a "grand conspiracy theory" that left me with more questions than answers. The ultimate revelation was disappointing.
I hope the next (final?) Repairman Jack novel will revive the character developed in the first book.
on October 6, 2002
I'm disappointed after I read first two good books (Tomb and Legacies). This book doesn't really make sense with a lot of mumbo jumbo and not as interesting as the previous ones. I just lost interested after reading a hundred pages, but forced myself to finish it as quick as I can. It would be nice if Mr. Wilson put more variety in his novels without using Pine Barrens in each story, for ex. Also, writing about supernatural in this Repairman Jack novel, please. They don't really fit together with RJ character to my opinion. Write something like in real life like Legacies or a short story in Barrens and Others. I hope the next novels will be much better.