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Crisscross: A Repairman Jack Novel    by F. Paul Wilson order for
by F. Paul Wilson
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2006 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Jack's world has been remarkably quiet since he last engaged the Adversary. He figures that's a good thing now that Gia's pregnant. He wants to spend more time with her, and keep her and their baby safe, as well as get himself an actual identity now he's going to be a father. So when two rather easy fixes fall into his lap, Jack sees a great way to make fast money towards that end. His first case involves finding an elderly woman's son, who's been swallowed within the secretive bowels of a worldwide cult, the Dormentalists. Members include people from every walk of life, from sports figures to politicians to Hollywood celebrities. Jack has nothing but disdain for their organization and sets out to have a little fun at the Dormentalists' expense. As for the blackmail case, he's already had a few run-ins with shady PI Richie Cordova and works out a particularly nasty solution, that will hit Ritchie right in his greedy bread basket - a just reward for Cordova's stooping so low as to blackmail a nun.

But as Jack's already been warned on numerous occasions by those who represent the Ally, his life will hold no more coincidences; soon it becomes clear that the Otherness is once again choreographing every aspect of Jack's life. After ingratiating himself with Church leader Luther Brady, Jack learns that Brady's agenda has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the sinister Otherness. The cult leader is willing to do anything to please the Adversary including committing numerous murders. His latest sacrifice is the reporter who helped Jack infiltrate the cult and who was set to publish the truth about the Dormentalist Church. His blackmail case also takes a tragic turn after Jack learns that Sister Maggie has been brutally beaten to death. Now his dark alter ego kicks in and he vows revenge as he meticulously devises two new fixes that will crisscross and effect the demise of both Luther Brady and Richie Cordova.

When F. Paul Wilson first introduced Repairman Jack almost twenty years ago in The Tomb, he never envisioned that Jack would strike such a chord with readers. The dark and edgy character - whose idea of justice is inventive and often brutal - is a thinking man's mercenary obsessed with his anonymity. Eight novels later, the series is still going strong with no signs of letting up. Wilson continues adding more intriguing layers to the Adversary Cycle and his very likeable anti-hero. There are great interactions with Jack's ladylove Gia and her precocious daughter Vicky, as well as with Abe, the wise mensch and father figure. Abe, whose sporting goods shop is a front for his real business as an illegal arms dealer, is the only other person (besides Gia) who knows anything about Jack's dangerous alter ego and the otherworldly battle he's been waging for most of his adult life. Wilson continues showing readers what a clever storyteller he is with timely plotting and gripping action sequences. Crisscross is another riveting addition to what is one of the best dark fantasy series around.

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