Saturday, December 13, 2014

Infernal (2005) and Harbingers (2006) by F. Paul Wilson

Infernal (Repairman Jack 9) by F. Paul Wilson (2005): Things continue to get dire for libertarian pulp hero Jack (no last name), as family and friends are again targeted as part of the build-up to armageddon. This time around, terrible events at New York's LaGuardia airport bring Jack's older brother back into his life for the first time in nearly 20 years.

But Jack's brother, a judge, is a self-involved, corrupt, drunk bastard. Nonetheless, Jack agrees to help him disappear before he's arrested by the authorities. But there's also the matter of a mysterious map and an even more mysterious treasure. Inimical to human life, the Otherness is on the move.

Jack's brother makes this a more enjoyable outing in this series than most -- he's a refreshing breath of sleaze and terrible decision-making. I'd have liked more of the historical flashbacks that explain how the mysterious treasure ended up sunk in the waters off Bermuda, but so it goes. There's a scene in which a character whips up a magical antidote that seems like a parody (pretty much all the ingredients can be bought in the course of a couple of hours). Is it a parody? I don't know. Recommended.

Harbingers (Repairman Jack 10) by F. Paul Wilson (2006): The history of the war between the Otherness and the Ally on Earth gets sketched in, as Jack runs into a secret society that's been doing the Ally's bidding for several hundred years. Perhaps more. That secret society believes Jack is The Heir, the fancy title for the guy who will be granted super-powers and immortality to act as the enemy to the Otherness's similarly powered Adversary. But no superpowers yet.

So we get more dire familial events, more appearances of the strange and prophetic woman and her dog, and a whole lot of explosions and shooting. We also finally see the Adversary, Rasalom, begin to move more openly against his enemies. And the cosmic near-indifference of the Ally -- still better than the cosmic malevolence of the Otherness, but not by much -- finally begins to be shown in full. Recommended.

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