F. Paul Wilson

Cold City: The Early Years by F. Paul Wilson

Cold City: The Early Years by F. Paul Wilson. A Tor Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N Y 10010

If you’ve never read a Repairman Jack novel, Cold City: The Early Years is the perfect place to start. Jack Moore, which isn’t his real name, dropped out of Rutgers and moved to New York City and has, for a number of reasons, decided to work off the grid.

That means no Social Security number, no record of who he is, just a guy who doesn’t want to take part as a registered member of our civilization. In the beginning Jack is working off the books as a landscaper for a company called Two Paisanos Landscaping, even though there is only one Paisano.

The crew is five men, 4 Dominicans and Jack, the white boy. During the growing season they work 7 days a week and get paid $4 an hour off the books. It’s 1990 so that type of pay without any deductions doesn’t get you rich but you’re not poor either.

One of the Dominicans is named Rico and he was the lead man until Jack started working. Because Jack came from New Jersey and worked as a landscaper for 4 years, he had more experience than any of the other guys.

Why has Jack decided to drop out? The first three books of his life, as a teenager and until he was 24, create his story. When he was nineteen years old, some young prankster threw a cinder block off a bridge that ran over a throughway and it went smashing into the windshield of his parents car and his mother was killed.

In the very first book written about Repairman Jack called The Tomb, Jack hides on the overpass two or three nights a week until he catches the young punk who killed his mother. Revenge is not always a dish served cold.

One day Rico was in a particularly bad mood and starting ragging on Jack with various despicable slurs and Jack was struggling to keep his temper. Then Rico did the unforgivable. He started saying negative things about Jack’s mother. Jack did everything he could to hold himself together and, by some miracle, he did.

Then Rico, out of nowhere, sucker punched Jack and Jack saw black and used all of his martial arts skills on Rico. Jack broke Rico’s nose, kicked Rico’s knee so that it went backwards and got him on the ground and starting pounding on his face. Then Jack picked up a rock and was getting ready to smash it into Rico’s face and Giovanni, the owner of Two Paisano’s, wrapped his arms around Jack and lifted him into the air.

Giovanni held Jack up in the air and all of a sudden Jack cooled off. He told Jack to go home because the other three Dominicans were really angry and Giovanni said that when they went back to work one of them would have used the sharp gardener’s tools to kill Jack.

That was the end of Jack’s work as a landscaper in New York City. It wasn’t his last run in with the Dominican’s that he worked with but you’ll have to read the 1st three books of The Early Years: Cold City, Dark City, and Fear City to find out what happens next and why it happens.

Giovanni recommends that Jack get a gun just to stay safe and that is when Jack finds out that Abe, his close friend in New York who owns a sporting goods store, is also a weapon supplier. In the back room of the sporting goods shop is a giant room with a big sign on the wall that says “The Weapon Shop of Isher.” Have you ever heard of the science fiction writer named A. E. Van Vogt?

The next job Jack procures is through his weapon trainer, a man named Dane Bertel, who smuggles truckloads of cigarettes from North Carolina to New York City and is always in the market for a trustworthy driver. At $3,000 a trip, Jack gets a substantial raise.

On one of these runs, a major incident takes place that changes the course of Jack’s life. I don’t want to ruin the series so I can’t tell anymore about what happens.

I can say that if you have heard of the Jack Reacher series written by Lee Child and like it, you will love the series about Repairman Jack written by F. Paul Wilson which is about twenty books long. People clamor for Dr. Wilson to write more Jack stories but, at this time, he has taken a break and is writing other things. If they ever made Repairman Jack movies, and did them well, they would be giant moneymakers.

I highly recommend this series of books and I would say you should start with Cold City. There are others who would disagree with me but, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. The great thing about this series is, at this time, you can find these books in used book stores and on the internet for reasonable prices unless they happen to be signed by F. Paul Wilson, the writer.

Tales of Repairman Jack by F. Paul Wilson

Tales of Repairman Jack by F. Paul Wilson: A Review by Marc D. Goldfinger / www.repairmanjack.com F. Paul Wilson is the creator of Repairman Jack published by Tor Books, New York, NY 10010 and Isher Books, distributed by the Gauntlet Press, among others.

Repairman Jack is one of the most exciting characters ever to come out of the mind of F. Paul Wilson, who in his spare time, when he is not writing, is a practicing physician in Wall, New Jersey. It would take a Jersey Boy to create someone as interesting and unique as Repairman Jack.

Some of the writers, beside myself, who are fans of Repairman Jack are Lee Childs, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz, Joe R. Lansdale, and Andrew Vacchss. That’s just a handful; there are more. Once I read my first Repairman Jack book, Harbingers, I was hooked.

I don’t recommend beginning there because that’s kind of the middle of a long story. Actually, I think wrong; I began with Infernal, which introduced me to Jack’s brother Tom, who is a practicing judge in Philadelphia.

It might appear that Jack is the black sheep in the family, but families have many secrets and sometimes our brothers and sisters might be in competition for that title. We don’t always know them as well as we think we do. In the book Infernal, Jack’s brother Tom cons Jack into going on a treasure hunt looking for a wreck off the coast of Bermuda.

As is often the case with Jack’s adventures, things go astray. I’m not going to ruin the book for you by giving you the storyline. I will tell you that Jack hangs out in a bar called The Spot, which is run by Julio, who becomes a close friend, and the search for treasure turns into a dark tale of mystery and power.

Repairman Jack doesn’t exist. Well, he is real, but a tragic event in his life causes him to have reason to stay hidden from society. He has no Social Security card, pays no taxes and because of his desire to protect the people he loves, Jack becomes a ghost in the machine of civilization. He is a repairman because he implements solutions to problems that can’t be fixed by legitimate means. They are problems that can only be solved by someone who can’t be traced or identified.

You will love Repairman Jack. What’s nice about that is the fact that there are over 16 books of his adventures, and they all tell tales that are continuous and yet, they also stand alone. You’ll know when you are nearing the end of the Repairman Jack story because his books tend to end with cliffhangers.

Perhaps you would enjoy starting with the book named Dark City, which is one of the early histories of Jack. It’s not the earliest history of Jack; the beginning of his story is told in a series of three books written for Young Adults.

We all have to begin somewhere, don’t we? The first Young Adult book is called Jack: Secret Histories and it begins with Jack growing up in the pine barrens of New Jersey, when he is in high school. I suggest you start reading about Jack here. Isn’t everyone really a young adult, a child who happened to get wrinkled and grey?

I remember flying up the stairs when I was young. Now I trudge up the stairway to the wonderful apartment where I live. However, I fly through the books I read and then I write about them. I even write about myself from time to time. I’ve heard many people say, “my life is so interesting I could write a book about it,” but they never do.

I found out through holding writing workshops that many people enjoy talking about writing but when it comes to picking up the pen and putting it to the empty page, that is another story.

F. Paul Wilson dares to put the pen to the page, and he has created a character whose adventures tear through a minimum of at least 16 books. Repairman Jack is not the only character Dr. Wilson created—he wrote a story called SIMS, divided into five novellas that deal with genetic engineering.

In the third book of the young adult series a tragic event takes place that changes Jack’s life forever. No, I won’t tell you what it is—but every boy, from a good home, loves his mother. Once you finish Secret Histories, Secret Circles, and Secret Vengeance, you are ready to enter the next trilogy, which takes Repairman Jack to the Dark City.

In the Dark City you will meet Abe, who is a mensch who runs the Isher Sports Shop. Abe becomes one of Jack’s closest friends. Does anyone reading this remember the Weapon Shop of Isher? Google it, my friend, and be enlightened. The writer A. E. Van Vogt would want you to do this.

Then there is Jacks adversary, Rasalom, who is first introduced in F. Paul Wilson’s book called The Keep. This story takes place during the hell of Nazi Germany, in the way back of 1941. The Keep is in the Dinu Pass, in Romania and it was created to contain—well, needless to say, one of the most frightening enemies of Repairman Jack series arises from The Keep. I cannot say more.

People clamor for F. Paul Wilson to write more Repairman Jack books, however, it appears that he may be done. Yet, one can always hope. Some might say—isn’t 16 + books enough? I say thee, nay, there can never be enough Repairman Jack. Now all we need is some movies. Really.