Okay, at least F. Paul Wilson threw us a bone. Y'know, a few decades in, the poor guy must be slicing into his wrist like crazed Michael Biehn in THE ABYSS at having to write one Repairman Jack story after another, year after year. Recall that A. Conan Doyle once tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes, he was so fed up with writing him. F. Paul Wilson has put his foot down. He's vowed one final series of books about Repairman Jack, and then kaput, buster. DARK CITY is the middle child in Wilson's prequel trilogy depicting Jack's formative early years in New York City.
DARK CITY doesn't bother with foreplay. It right away ramps up the thrills as Jack suddenly finds himself in a frantic chase - sucks because he's the chasee! - on a moving subway train. To newbie readers, DARK CITY isn't much a welcoming jumping-on point. You need to have read Cold City (Repairman Jack: Early Years Trilogy) first to get all the frequent references from that book. It's 1991 and, once again, the now 22-year-old Jack is neck-deep in foiling sex s1ave operations, extortionist mafiosa, and a vengeful Dominican machete gang. As well, he runs into a band of Jihadists who suspect him of spying on them. As well, he's toiling hard on a righteous fix-it to ensure that his buddy, Julio, keeps his seedy little bar (which happens to be Jack's favorite watering hole). So, yeah, Jack's to-do list keeps him pretty occupied and the narrative packed with frenetic pace and crackling action.
A quote from an F. Paul Wilson interview at Hellnotes(dot)com: "He's also a different character at this point. He hasn't the weight of experience, he's unschooled, he makes mistakes -- terrible, tragic ones. But you see him learn from those mistakes, and that's why he does what he does later on." I'm not much into prequels. I'd rather the narrative sticks to the present-day, where (when) it's more relevant. But there's a tremendous draw to learning of Jack's early days in the Big Apple, to be privy to those experiences and life lessons that would eventually shape him into that off-the-grid urban mercenary with a knack for meting out ironic justice. DARK CITY treats us to a few more crumbs.
Even at this early stage, Jack already exhibits - to quote a shady associate - "an outlook that mixed outlaw mentality with a moral code." But have you ever wondered why Jack prefers to work alone? Or how he solidified his friendship with Julio? Or who was he with before he met Gia? Seasoned readers of Repairman Jack will be rewarded. So what's not to like? If you're even a wee bit curious about what Jack was like before he became burdened with a supernatural destiny... if, near the end of the present-day series, you fretted because Jack was doing less and less of those street-level fix-its... if you're simply jonesing for one more Repairman Jack story... well, F. Paul Wilson just did you a solid.