Quick Fixes: Tales of Repairman Jack by F. Paul Wilson (2011)
Not a forgotten book, but not a commonly available one either. Quick Fixes is a collection of nine stories that F. Paul Wilson assembled as an e-Book and made available as a print on demand book from CreateSpace. This is a book for completists who want to read all the short stories Wilson wrote about Repairman Jack.
Some may ask, "Who is Repairman Jack?"
Well, Repairman Jack is an urban mercenary who was the focus of the second volume of Wilson's Adversary series, The Tomb, and was a character in the sixth and concluding book in that series, Nightworld. As Wilson explains in the forward to this book, he was working on his fourth medical thriller and was becoming bored with it. He had an idea for a techothriller and decided to rework the book and to use Jack as the main character. To please the publisher, he made Jack's client a doctor so the book could sorta qualify as a medical history. That was when Jack took over Wilson's life.
There are fifteen books in the Repairman Jack series, including The Tomb but not including two separate versions of Nightworld (Wilson had to rewrite Nightworld to smooth out inconsistencies between the Repairman Jack series and the Adversary series since Repairman Jack was substantially a subset of the other series.) There is also a trilogy about Jack as a young teen and another trilogy that spanned the gap in Jack's life between teenager and urban mercenary. Sometime in the future, I understand, there may be some Repairman Jack graphic novels.
Over the length of the saga, Jack becomes first a pawn, then a major player, in a cosmic war in which Earth is an insignificant prize. The War is between two entities, one of which is entirely evil and the other is basically apathetic about the fate of this world. Very little of the Adversary saga is present in these stories, though; here Jack is facing mostly mundane threats as he "fixes" situations for his clients.
But Jack is anything but mundane. He is a completely off-the-grid white knight, with a small group of friends and an urge to set things right. Jack is also a Libertarian's ideal. (Wilson is a staunch Libertarian; if you're not, don't let that worry you; you can easily love this series while disagreeing with its Libertarian underpinnings. I did and do.)
- A Day in the Life (1989, from Stalkers, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg)
- The Last Rakosh (1990, from the 1990 World Fantasy convention Program Book; the story was incorporated into the Repairman Jack novel All the Rage)
- Home Repairs (1991, from Cold Blood, edited by Richard Chizmar; the story was incorporated into the Repairman Jack novel Conspiracies)
- The Long Way Home (1992, from Dark at Heart, edited by Joe and Karen Lansdale)
- The Wringer (1996, from Night Screams, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg; the story was incorporated into the Repairman Jack novel Fatal Error)
- Interlude at Duane's (2006, from Thriller, edited by James Patterson)
- Do-Gooder (2006, from a one-page broadsheet issued by Lavendier Books)
- Recalled (2009, from the Richard Matheson tribute anthology He Is Legend, edited by Christopher Conlon)
- Piney Power (2010, from the young-adult thriller anthology Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror, edited by R. L. Stine)
Repairman Jack fans, rejoice!