After publishing his outstanding horror debut, The Keep, in 1981, F. Paul Wilson subsequently added five more books to what came to be known as the "Adversary Cycle": The Tomb (1984), The Touch (1986), Reborn (1990), Reprisal (1991), and Nightworld (1992). Those books 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.
Jack, who labors mightily to conceal his existence from the world, made his first appearance in The Tomb. Left near death at the end of that novel, Jack reappeared 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), Gateways (2003) and CrissCross (2004). 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.
Infernal, the eighth installment in Jack's ongoing saga, opens innocently enough, with Jack arriving at the airport to pick up his father, whom readers got to know in Gateways. To avoid spoilers, no more will be said about the sobering events depicted in the book's first few pages--suffice it to say that those happenings will change Jack's outlook on life forever. They will also bring the Repairman's ne'er-do-well older brother Tom back into his life, resulting in an uneasy alliance between the siblings that places all Jack holds dear into jeopardy.
This book will be most appreciated by long standing fans of the series, as Wilson relies heavily on past events and relationships to power the novel, even as he maneuvers his character into position for the windup of the series. That's not to say that it doesn't work fine as a stand alone novel, only that the reading experience will be enhanced for those who are familiar with past events in the series (and, as an aside, for Charles Dickens fans!).