F. Paul Wilson published his first horror novel, The Keep in 1981. Discussing the book in Horror: 100 Best Books, J. N. Williamson wrote, "It is difficult...to imagine anything essential to the genre's form which was omitted. Whatever a reader or reviewer of horror fiction thinks primary-necessary in the sense of originality of idea, basic to tight plotting and its progression, desirable in characterization and imperative in terms of suspense, surprise and the inexorable buildup of the total storyline from event to event, chapter to chapter-seems to me present in Dr. Wilson's work."
After The Keep, Wilson published five more books in what he came to call the "Adversary Cycle": The Tomb (1984), The Touch (1986), Reborn (1990), Reprisal (1991), and Nightworld (1992). Apocalyptic fiction at its best, the Adversary Cycle introduced several concepts that came to form the core of much of Wilson's fictional universe: the ancient, evil entity called Rasalom, his eternal opponent Glaeken, the town of Monroe, Long Island (Wilson's analog of Arkham, Oxrun Station, and Castle Rock), the wandering healing spirit known as the Dat-tay-vao (first seen in The Touch), and the modern pulp hero known as Repairman Jack.
The secretive Jack, who conceals his existence from the world, made his first appearance in The Tomb. Not wanting to be locked in to writing a series character, Wilson left him near death at the end of that novel, only to have him reappear in Nightworld, playing a key role in frustrating Rasalom's bid to enslave humanity. Jack's fans proving persistent, Wilson responded with a new Repairman Jack novel, titled Legacies in 1998, following it with Conspiracies (1999), All the Rage (2000), Hosts (2001), The Haunted Air (2002), and Gateways (2003). Set between the events in The Tomb and Nightworld, the books chronicle Jack's growing awareness of the battle between Rasalom and the entity he refers to as `the Otherness" or " the Ally." Similar to the late Isaac Asimov, Wilson is working to link the bulk of his fictional output, subtly revising the books in the Adversary Cycle to fit the new continuity he is creating through his Repairman Jack novels.
CrissCross, the latest installment in Jack's ongoing saga, finds Dr. Wilson in excellent form. As is his custom, he gives Jack two problems which inevitably converge-as Jack was told in an earlier story, there are no more coincidences for him. This time out, the repairman attempts to rescue a convert to the up and coming religion of Dortmentalism, at the same time trying to extricate a Catholic nun from a sticky blackmail situation. Rather than reveal too much of Wilson's engaging plot, let's just say that the author seems to take great pleasure in complicating Jack's already complex existence; readers, especially fans of rugged types like Travis McGee, will delight in watching Wilson extricate his creation from the deadly situations he's concocted. Their only qualm will come from the realization that as Jack draws closer to his date with destiny, the series will inevitably draw to a close. Enjoy it while it lasts.