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Ground Zero: A Repairman Jack Novel    by F. Paul Wilson order for
Ground Zero
by F. Paul Wilson
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2009 (2009)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

An Author's Note at the beginning of Ground Zero informs fans that they 'hold the pen-penultimate Repairman Jack novel' - and he continues to explain that 'Two more Repairman Jack novels remain, the last ending just before Nightworld begins' with still 'a lot of wonder, terror, and tragedy ahead.'

As might be expected from the title, Ground Zero opens with someone wicked watching the twin towers burn from New York harbor. What's the link? You'll have to read the novel to find out, but it postulates a second attack on the towers after the planes hit, as part of a nefarious plan. Next, young Oculus Diana sees an Alarm, that warns of Fhinntmanchca's awakening. And Dawn Pickering continues to fret over her pregnancy and luxurious imprisonment.

But the best part of Ground Zero for me is the reappearance in it of Jack's close childhood friend, Louise 'Weezy' Connell (the young genius from Jack: Secret Histories). As paranoid as ever, she's been investigating the truth behind 9/11 and its relationship to the Secret History. When her work attracts the wrong kind of attention and she ends up in hospital, a note at her house asks her brother Eddie to contact Jack (whom neither has seen since high school).

Jack has been keeping tabs on the Kickers (led by Hank Thompson) and spending time with Gia, Vicky, and his friend Abe. After he links up with Weezy they dodge assassins and continue her research. Jack gets Weezy up to speed on the Conflict that's been fueling the Secret History, while she adjusts to how quickly he can turn into a cold-eyed killer, and they both see their childhood experiences through new eyes.

Thompson's aide Darryl is manipulated by Ernst Drexler and the One into facilitiating the Fhinntmanchca's emergence. No one, good or evil, knows what to expect after it achieves its dreadful goal, and all are surprised. As this episode in the epic conflict closes, those on the side of the Ally are left dangerously vulnerable, raising the stakes for the next Repairman Jack adventure. I can't wait.

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