F. Paul Wilson fans still long for Repairman Jack, and I bet the author misses his most famous character as much as we do. It was time to move on, and though Wilson hung on as long as possible, it was best to bid adieu to Jack.

The newest book from publishing dynamo F. Paul Wilson is called Double Threat, and it is obviously the start of a new recurring character.

Double Threat begins with a low rent grifter named Daley (it's best not to ask about her first name) who is on the run from some unhappy recipients of one of her scams. Daley takes to a cave in the desert, and while she's there something incredible occurs. A weird substance adheres itself to the top of her head. Before she knows it, Daley is no longer alone in her head. A new consciousness resides in her brain. It can manifest itself as an image that can only be seen by her. The entity, jokingly called "Pard", is both a gift and a curse.

Daley sets up shop in a small desert community, selling New Age healing. Pard can enter the bodies of others while Daley is in contact with them, and it can alter the course of various maladies. But something sinister is afoot in the town. Something that could change the face of the entire planet.

Double Threat is tied in with an earlier Wilson story called Wardenclyffe. Which seems a little bit odd. Serious Wilson fans such as myself have read Wardenclyffe, but it came out from a somewhat obscure small press. The average mass market reader won't be familiar with it.

Double Threat is, like everything else by F. Paul Wilson, expertly plotted and executed. It may be a little short on action, but the novel is definitely building up to something bigger. There is substantial intrigue in the story, and a considerable amount of wit in the interior dialogue between Daley and Pard.

She may not be Jack, but Daley is a good character who develops depth and sympathy as the story enfolds. She's tough and resourceful, and Pard's influence gives her an interesting edge.

As usual Wilson straddles genres. Horror, SF, action-adventure, high tech, espionage. A lot of books today attempt that sort of fusion, but few manage to achieve such entertaining and thought-provoking results as he does.

Do yourself a favor and dig up a copy of Wardenclyffe before you jump into Double Threat. You'll thank me later.

Written by Mark Sieber

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