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Infernal: A Repairman Jack Novel    by F. Paul Wilson order for
by F. Paul Wilson
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

F. Paul Wilson's urban equalizer is back in another installment of otherworldly mayhem in Infernal. As the story opens, Jack finds himself excited over the imminent arrival of his estranged father, who's sold his Florida condominium and decided to move back upstate and reacquaint himself with his remaining children and grandchildren. But a terrorist attack at La Guardia shatters any hope of reconciliation. Furious over how fate has once again played devil's advocate, Jack calls in favors, determined to track down his father's killers (who've all mysteriously vanished) and exact his own brand of vengeance.

In the meantime he has a funeral to arrange, but because Jack 'lives off the grid', claiming his father's remains falls to Jack's elder brother Tom (also long-estranged), a corrupt Philadelphia judge. Their first meeting confirms that Tom remains just as self-centered, overbearing and generally obnoxious as ever and that he's also neck deep in legal and financial trouble. Once his obligations are done with, Jack would prefer distancing himself from Tom - for good this time. But pregnant girlfriend Gia persuades Jack to work at a reconciliation, which eventually sees Jack sailing to Bermuda with Tom to hunt for a mysterious artifact he's convinced will make him a 'rich and untouchable' man. But as is always the case, there are unnatural forces working against Jack and those close to him. The brothers soon realize that the Lilitongue of Gefreda is actually a device that opens a portal to an alternate dimension with links to the Otherness - that immediately endangers the two people Jack loves most.

In this latest chapter of the Repairman Jack saga, Wilson does a nice job of exploring the familial dynamics between Tom and Jack, thereby revealing a bit more of Jack's elusive past. He seems a touch more passive this time and given his usual paranoia for staying in the shadows, Jack is far too willing to ally himself with a brother he's never trusted and who's being monitored closely by the FBI. Nor is Infernal as intricately plotted as past installments. However, this story does add further dimensions to the bigger plot - one that is still rapidly escalating forward as Jack and Gia await the arrival of their child and readers continue wondering just where Jack fits in, in his continuing battle against strange and dangerous forces.

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