Science Fiction and Fantasy World. Repairman Jack - Reading Order? A friend of mine has recently suggested to me the F. Paul Wilson series known as Repairman Jack. When I look them up it gets a bit confusing. There seem to be multiple, inter-woven and inter-connected series'.
BOOK REVIEW: F. Paul Wilson’s PANACEA
Does anyone have experience with this series and can suggest a recommended reading order? I have looked this up online and there are, as you might suspect, a variety of answers. It was different with Gia. Gia, on the other hand, had a nasty habit of popping into his thoughts at the most inopportune times. He hated to talk on the phone but had found himself calling her at the slightest excuse. For nearly a year it had been a treat to wake up every morning knowing he was probably going to see her at some time during the day.
Her face when she learned the truth about him, the hurt, and something worse—fear. The knowledge that Gia could even for an instant think that he would ever harm her, or ever allow harm to come to her, was the deepest hurt of all. Now he had another chance. Vicky was fairly trembling with excitement. Almost, but not quite. She was adjusting. Sometimes she could go through a whole day without thinking about him. There was even someone new creeping into her life. Take her ex-husband, for instance. They adored Vicky and used every imaginable pretext to lure Gia and their niece over to Sutton Square.
Eight Sutton Square had become a second home of sorts. The aunts had even gone so far as to have a swing set and a wooden playhouse installed in the tiny backyard just for Vicky.
And had been here ever since. Grace Westphalen. Such a sweet old lady. So where was she? Gia was frightened and mystified by the disappearance, and she ached for Nellie, who she knew was suffering terribly behind her stoical front. Not that Jack would be much help. But Nellie was desperate and it was the least Gia could do to ease her mind. Gia told herself she was standing here at the window to keep Vicky company—the poor child had been watching for an hour already—yet there was an undeniable sense of anticipation rising inside her. What was it, then?
What else could she expect? It had been only two months since the breakup and her feelings for Jack until then had been intense, as if compensating for all that had been missing from her aborted marriage. The forever one. A friendly gesture. He refused to hire a cleaning lady and usually did it himself. She wanted to do something for him. He was always doing little things for her, yet he was so self-contained that she found it difficult to reciprocate. She knew Jack as a gentle eccentric who worked at odd intervals and odd hours as a security consultant—whatever that was—and lived in a three-room apartment stuffed with such an odd assortment of junk that she had attacks of vertigo the first few times she visited him.
That was another thing about the apartment: the hideous old furniture. And he was crazy about movies—old movies, new movies, good movies, awful movies. He paid cash for everything. The cleaning chores went smoothly until she found the loose panel at the rear of the base of the old oak secretary. Jack loved oak and she was learning to love it, too—it had such character. The panel swung out as she touched it. Something gleamed in the darkness within.
Curious, she reached in and touched cool, oiled metal. She pulled the object out and started in surprise at its weight and malignant blue color. A pistol. Well, lots of people in the city had guns. For protection. Nothing unusual about that. She glanced back into the opening. There were other gleaming things within. She began to pull them out. As each gun was delivered from the hiding place, she fought the growing pang in the pit of her stomach, telling herself that Jack was probably just a collector. After all, no two of the dozen or so guns were alike.
Her insides knotted as she sat and stared at the collection. She tried to tell herself they were things he needed for his work as a security consultant, but deep inside she knew that much of what lay before her was illegal. Even if he had permits for all the guns, there was no way the licenses could be legal. Gia was still sitting there when he came back in from one of his mysterious errands. A shocked, guilty look ran over his face when he saw what she had found. You know me. Her voice rose an octave. If someone else had told her this about the man she loved, she would have laughed and walked away.
But the weapons lay in front of her. And Jack was telling her himself! And that was answer enough. She suddenly felt cold. Have you ever killed someone? The man she loved was a murderer! Only when I had to. Kill or be killed? He looked away again. With hysteria clutching at her, Gia began running. She ran for the door, ran down the stairs, ran for a cab that took her home where she huddled in a corner of her apartment listening to the phone ring and ring and ring. She took it off the hook when Vicky came home from school and had barely spoken to Jack since.
I want to see him! Just say hello to him nice and politely, then go out back to the playhouse. But then, Jack had fooled Gia, too. Jack fooled everyone, it seemed. No high-rises, condos, or office buildings there, just neat four-story townhouses standing flush to the sidewalk, all brick-fronted, some with the brick bare, others painted pastel colors.
Wooden shutters flanked the windows and the recessed front doors. Some of them even had backyards. A neighborhood of Bentleys and Rolls Royces, liveried chauffeurs and white-uniformed nannies. And one block to the north, looming over it all like some towering guardian, stood the graceful, surprisingly delicate-looking span of the Queensboro Bridge.
He remembered the place well. The evening had changed his life. She leaped into the air with the reckless abandon of a seven-year-old who had not the slightest doubt she would be caught and lifted and swung around. Which is exactly what Jack did. Then he hugged her against his chest as she clamped her spindly arms around his neck. Shocked by the intensity of feeling welling up in him, he could only squeeze her tighter. For the better part of a year he and Gia had been together, Jack had seen Vicky almost every day, becoming a prime focus of her boundless store of affection.
Losing Vicky had contributed much more than he ever could have imagined to the emptiness inside him these past two months. Love you, little girl. He spun away to hide the tears that had sprung into his eyes. Sorry, Vicks. She looked good. Hell, she looked great in that light blue T-shirt and jeans. Short blond hair—to call it blond was to say the sun was sort of bright: It gleamed, it glowed.
Blue eyes like winter sky after all the snow clouds have blown east. A strong, full mouth capable of a wide, dazzling smile. High shoulders, high breasts, fair skin with high coloring along the cheeks. He still found it almost impossible to believe she was Italian. Vicky loved Jack. He looked the same as ever. Still the same vitality, making the very air around him seem to throb with life, the same feline grace to his movements, the same warm brown eyes, the same lopsided smile.
The smile looked forced at the moment, and his face was flushed. He looked hot. His voice was husky. He leaned his face toward her. She wanted to pull away but affected sublime indifference instead. She would be cool. She would be detached. He no longer meant anything to her. She accepted a peck on the cheek. She felt she succeeded. But the brush of his lips against her cheek stirred old unwanted feelings and she knew her face was coloring. Damn him. She turned away. So are you. She had to get Vicky away from him. And Ms. Jelliroll wants to meet you. I told her all about you.
I want to meet her, too.
But his mouth smiled. Vicky was very attached to you. The result was the same. She was hurt. There was a time when I had hopes of being her father. Vicky needs a real person for a father. Someone who lives in the real world. Someone with a last name—do you even remember your last name? The one you were christened with? She felt her skin tingle. The words poured out of her. And what kind of a husband? Shall we get down to business? I was just the messenger. She remembered that you worked with Mr.
As of now he knew with leaden certainty that it would never happen. He studied the walnut paneling, the portraits on the walls, anything to keep from watching her as she walked ahead of him. Then they were through a pair of sliding doors and into the library. The dark paneling continued in from the hall, encircling lots of dark furniture, overstuffed velvet chairs with antimacassars on the arms, Persian rugs on the floor, impressionist paintings on the walls, a Sony Trinitron in the corner. Aunt Nellie sat lost in a recliner by the cold fireplace.
A chubby, white-haired woman in her late sixties in a long dark dress adorned with a small diamond brooch and a short string of pearls. A woman used to wealth and comfortable with it. At first glance she appeared depressed and shrunken, as if she were in mourning, or preparing for it. But as they entered she pumped herself up and arranged her face into a pleasant expression, putting on a smile that wiped away a good many of her years. Her accent was thickly British. But just call me Jack.
Would you care for some tea? An uncomfortable silence followed in which Nellie seemed to be lost in thought. I was just thinking about my sister, Grace. The police are no help. I knew you and Gia were close and remembered Eddie Burkes mentioning that your assistance had proven invaluable at the Mission. Never would tell me what he needed you for, but he certainly seemed enthusiastic. He could feel Gia staring at him. If nothing else, the job would keep him in contact with Gia.
The iced tea arrived and Jack sipped it appreciatively. Not a Lipton or Nestea mix, but freshly brewed from an English blend. Nellie leaned back and spoke in a low voice, rambling now and again, but keeping fairly close to hard facts. A picture slowly emerged. Unlike Nellie, the missing Grace Westphalen had never married. And both were still loyal to the Queen. Never in all those years had the thought of becoming US citizens ever crossed their minds. They rarely saw Americans. It was almost like living in London. Grace Westphalen was sixty-nine—two years older than Nellie.
A woman of many acquaintances but few real friends. Her sister had always been her best friend. No eccentricities. Certainly no enemies. That was the last time I saw her. Oh, you mean the burglar system. And it was set—at least for downstairs. The racket is terrifying. So now when we set the system, only the downstairs doors and windows are activated. That must have been what she did.
She just walked out. And all her clothes are in her closets. They all trooped upstairs. Jack found the small, frilly-feminine bedroom cloying. Everything seemed to be pink or have a lace ruffle, or both. The pair of French doors at the far end of the room claimed his attention immediately.
He opened them and found himself on a card-table-sized balcony rimmed with a waist-high wrought iron railing, overlooking the backyard. A good dozen feet below was a rose garden. In a shady corner sat the playhouse Vicky had mentioned; it looked far too heavy to have been dragged under the window, and would have flattened all the rose bushes if it had. Anyone wanting to climb up here had to bring a ladder with him or be one hell of a jumper. He looked under the bed; only a pair of slippers there.
None of them seem too plausible. That was something at least. He went over to the dressing table and glanced at the dozens of perfume bottles there; some names were familiar, most not. One bottle stood off to the side. Jack picked it up. It was clear glass, with a thick green fluid inside. The cap was the metal twist-off type, enameled white.
All it needed was a Smirnoff label and it could have been an airline vodka bottle. The smell was heavily herbal, and not particularly pleasant. As Nellie returned, she appeared to be finding it increasingly difficult to hide her anxiety. I rang up the detective in charge a while ago and he just told me that they have nothing new on Grace. Grace picked this up Monday. A cathartic. A laxative.
You’re ending Repairman Jack? Really?
Grace was very concerned—obsessed, you might say—with regulating her bowels. Something about an unlabeled bottle amid all the brand names intrigued him. But where are you going to start? Vicky came running in from the kitchen as Jack reached the bottom step. She held an orange section in her outstretched hand. Do the orange mouth! Then he gave Vicky a big orange grin.
She clapped and laughed. He winked at her. You coming back soon, Jack? Jack can do anything. Never did. Not really. There were all sorts of pat answers to give, answers that were satisfying when the father was still around for birthdays and holidays and weekends.
But what to say to a child whose father had not only skipped town, but left the continent before she was five? Maybe Vicky knew. You just have to get to know him. Carl acted like any man unfamiliar with children. Bright, witty, sophisticated. A civilized man. Not like Jack. Not at all like Jack. Phone calls, flowers, dinners had followed. Something was developing.
Certainly not love yet, but a nice relationship. Both Richard and Jack, the only two men in the last ten years of her life, had deeply disappointed her. With Richard out of touch for over a year now, money was a constant problem. Richard had sent a few checks after running back to England—drawn in British pounds just to make things more difficult for her. Not that he had any financial problems—he controlled one-third of the Westphalen fortune.
And so Gia did the best she could. Good freelance work for a commercial artist was hard to find on a steady basis, but she managed. Carl was seeing to it that she got assignments from his accounts, and she appreciated that, though it worried her. But she needed those jobs.
Freelance work was the only way she could be a breadwinner and a mother and father to Vicky—and do it right. She wanted to be home when Vicky got in from school. She wanted Vicky to know that even if her father had deserted her, her mother would always be there. It always came down to money. She simply wanted enough so she could stop worrying about it all the time. Her day-to-day life would be enormously simplified by hitting the state lottery or having some rich uncle pass on and leave her fifty thousand or so.
She was going to have to make it on her own. She was not so naive as to think that every problem could be solved by money—look at Nellie, lonely and miserable now, unable to buy back her sister despite all her riches—but a windfall would certainly let Gia sleep better at night. All of which reminded Gia that her rent was due. Staying here and keeping Nellie company was a pleasant change of scenery; it was posh, cool, comfortable. But it was keeping her from her work.
- The Governing of Britain in the 18th Century.
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- Sufism in the West.
Two assignments had deadlines coming up, and she needed those checks. Paying the rent now was going to drop her account to the danger level, but it had to be done. Might as well find the checkbook and get it over with. Got to take care of some business first. You can be Mr. Jelliroll doll? Gia watched her race toward the rear of the house. No one her age around here; all her friends were back at the apartment house. She went upstairs to the guest bedroom on the third floor where she and Vicky had spent the last two nights.
Maybe she could get some work done. The company had been regional in the south but was preparing to go national in a big way. They had the usual assortment of burgers, including their own answer to the Big Mac: the vaguely fascist-sounding Meister Burger. But what set them apart were their desserts.
They put a lot of effort into offering a wide array of pastries—eclairs, napoleons, cream puffs, and the like. The copywriter had decided the sheet should extol and catalog all the quick and wonderful services Burger-Meister offered. The art director had blocked it out: Around the edges would be scenes of children laughing, running, swinging and sliding in the mini-playground, cars full of happy people threading the drive-thru, children celebrating birthdays in the special party room, all revolving around that jolly, official-looking fellow, Mr.
Something about this approach struck Gia as wrong. There were missed opportunities here. This was a place mat. That meant the person looking at it was already in the Burger-Meister and had already ordered a meal. She saw no further need for a come-on. Why not tempt them with some of the goodies on the dessert list? Show them pictures of sundaes and cookies and eclairs and cream puffs. Get the kids howling for dessert. It was a good idea, and it excited her. Ten years ago this never would have crossed your mind.
But she was not that same girl from Ottumwa who had arrived in the Big City fresh out of art school and looking for work. She began sketching desserts. After an hour of work, she took a break. She pulled the checkbook out of her purse but could not find the bill. It had been on the dresser this morning and now it was gone. Gia went to the top of the stairs and called down.
Did you see an envelope on my dresser this morning? That left only one possibility. Here it comes, she thought, knowing that Gia would explode when she learned what Nellie had done with the rent bill. A lovely girl, that Gia, but so hot-tempered. And so proud, unwilling to accept any financial aid, no matter how often it was offered. A most impractical attitude. Preparing herself for the storm, Nellie stepped out onto the landing below Gia. I simply went in to make sure that Eunice was taking proper care of you, and I saw it sitting on the bureau.
I was paying a few of my own bills this morning and so I just paid yours, too. I can spend my money any way I please. But I so love having you and Victoria here. I would surely go mad with grief and worry. The man was a lout, a blot on the Westphalen name. By the way, I never told you, but last year I had my will changed to leave Victoria most of my holdings when I go.
She leaned against Nellie. I have so much money and so few pleasures left in life. You and Victoria are two of them. And as your aunt by marriage I claim the right to help out once in a while. But as soon as the door closed behind her, she felt her brave front crack. She stumbled across the room and sank onto the bed. But when she had no one around to play-act for, she fell apart. Oh, Grace, Grace, Grace. Where can you be? And how long can I live without you? Her purse-lipped smile, her tittering laugh, the pleasure she took in their daily sherry before dinner, even her infuriating obsession with the regularity of her bowels; Nellie missed them all.
The thought of living on without Grace suddenly overwhelmed Nellie and she began to cry, quiet sobs that no one else would hear. The dark-skinned driver made a couple of heavily accented tries at small talk about the Mets but the terse, grunted replies from the back seat soon shut him up.
Some of that grime seemed to have filtered through the glass and onto the grocery display items behind it. Faded dummy boxes of Tide, Cheerios, Gaines Burgers, and such had been there for years and probably would remain there for many more. Both Nick and his store needed a good scrubbing. His prices would shame an Exxon executive, but the Nook was handy, and baked goods were delivered fresh daily—at least he said they were.
He had three chins, one little one supported by two big ones, all in need of a shave. In fact, Abe was one of the reasons Jack had moved into this neighborhood. Abe was the ultimate pessimist. He could make a drowning man feel lucky. Jack glanced through the window. A balding, overweight man in his late fifties was alone inside, sitting on a stool behind the cash register, reading a paperback.
F. Paul Wilson · OverDrive (Rakuten OverDrive): eBooks, audiobooks and videos for libraries
The store was too small for its stock. Bicycles hung from the ceiling; fishing rods, tennis racquets, and basketball hoops littered the walls while narrow aisles wound between pressing benches, hockey nets, scuba masks, soccer balls, and countless other weekend-making items hidden under or behind each other. Inventory was an annual nightmare. Abe peered over the half moons of his reading glasses. I come with goodies in hand and money in pocket. He carried way too much weight for a frame that fell short of five-eight.
His graying hair had receded to the top of his head. His clothes never varied: black pants, short-sleeve white shirt, shiny black tie. As Jack neared the counter he spotted scrambled egg, mustard, and what could be either ketchup or spaghetti sauce.
The Tomb (Repairman Jack Series #1/ Adversary Cycle Series #2)
Just then the door dinged as a big burly fellow in a dirty sleeveless undershirt came through. I need three, quick like. What kinda sports store is that? Jack pointed at a softball-laden shelf to his right. I noticed. Crumb cake always made him manic. Abe stopped in mid-chew.
Really over. Is there something wrong in my head for wanting to live this way? He succeeded only in smearing the sugar specks on his tie into large white blotches. Sometimes it takes an outsider to make you see yourself as you really are. But what does she know? You're getting a free audiobook.
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