Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review: CONSPIRACIES, by F. Paul Wilson

F. Paul Wilson
CONSPIRACIES (Repairman Jack #3)
Forge, 2000
317 pages
Private Detective / Supernatural / Suspense

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good fantasy novel. I know how to suspend reality when watching a movie. But there is something about talking monkeys (Planet of the Apes excluded) that bothers me almost as much as talking dogs or cats in adult fiction novels (NOT excluding Jim Butcher's THE AERONAUT's WINDLESS) . I can't help but find it cheesy.

Anywho ...

Repairman Jack is not the guy to call if your dishwasher is on the fritz, there is a hole in your roof, or your car won't start. Jack's for hire, but doing handy jobs around one's property is not what he is about. Jack's specialty is finding people. And he's selective about the jobs he takes on.

That is why when Lew Ehler shows up asking for Jack's help, the Repairman almost turns him away. The reason he doesn't is simple. Lew's wife has gone missing. She did, however, manage to get to her husband a message. She wanted him to hire Jack, explaining only Jack could help.

Intrigued, because Jack had no idea who this Mel Ehler was, Jack takes the assignment. But the case only goes from odd to crazy in a heartbeat. Mel is part of a bizarre group of conspiracy theorists that specialize in anything and everything alien-related, from UFOs to alien abductions.

At a special invite-only convention downtown, Jack and Lew crash the event. Turns out Mel had been working on a theory that might bring a new light onto the idea of intelligent lifeforms beyond our little planet earth. It is possible she has found the truth. She had planned to make a major announcement on the last day of the convention.

And it is possible that Mel put her life in jeopardy because of her discoveries! Maybe there were people out there who did not want the truth exposed? Maybe there were people out there who feared everything they once believed was about to be shattered by Mel's findings? And maybe, just maybe, people are crazy and should be locked up off of the streets?

Whichever way, Repairman Jack found himself committed to the cause! His investigation brings his past dealings with the supernatural into the forefront, and he begins questioning his own sanity, his own reality, and is all too aware of his own growing fears. Something beyond loons and nuts are at the giant convention. There is a murderer in their midsts. And if Jack isn't careful he could wind up the one dead before finding out whatever happened to Mel Ehler!

Although not my favorite Repairman Jack story (I've only now read the three), it was still a fun, and entertaining tale. I am not discouraged, and will continue on with the series. I love the human aspect of Jack's life --his ongoing relationship with Gia and her daughter Vicky. Above all, I really like the way F. Paul Wilson writes. Witty. Dry sense of humor. Character depth. The perfect amount of descriptions. An enjoyable narrative ... what's not to like? Except monkeys. Talking monkeys.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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