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In Wilson's lively first in a projected trilogy of prequels to his Repairman Jack saga (Nightworld, etc.), Jack, newly arrived in Manhattan, begins honing the skills that will eventually make him a formidable urban mercenary who operates off the grid. Jack's talent for finding trouble is already well developed, as becomes clear when his job smuggling cigarettes runs him afoul of Arab jihadists, the mob, and a ring of sex slavers. Wilson expertly evokes Manhattan in all its gritty glory in the early '90s and introduces series regulars Abe Grossman, Jack's gunrunner and surrogate father, and Julio, the hard-working barkeep at Jack's preferred watering hole, the Spot. Though preachy in spots and devoid of the supernatural subtext that invigorates the later novels, this valentine to Jack's legion of fans still packs a wallop that whets the appetite for his next early adventure. Agent, Al Zuckerman, Writers House. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Readers who might be tempted to cry enough already with Repairman Jack! those for whom 15 novels are plenty, not to mention three Teen Jack books might be dismayed to learn that this is the first in a new trilogy about the fix-it man, whose projects usually wind up involving him in life-or-death battles with evil (or perhaps that should be Evil). But never fear: this tale, set in 1990 and chronicling Jack's early adventures in New York City, is more entertaining than the series has been in quite awhile. Its prose is refreshingly nimble, not lumbered by the extensive backstory that weighs down other books in the series, and Jack himself a younger, less experienced version of the familiar character is likable and even kind of goofy. It goes without saying that rabid Jack fans will snap this new book up, but it can also be safely recommended to readers who have grown tired of the increasingly dark and impenetrable Jack novels. A breath of fresh air for a long-running crime-fiction franchise.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist