Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review - The Tomb

The Tomb - F Paul Wilson
The Tomb
The Repairman Jack series is one that I have heard a lot about over the years. It appears on forums regularly, usually in the recommended sections. I have always wanted to get into the series but have been put off by the fact that the series does not begin in earnest until you have read the 6 books known as the Adversary Cycle. A series of books that Jack doesn’t always appear in.
About a year ago I decided to take the plunge and read the first of these books called “the Keep.” I loved it. Very atmospheric and well, just cool.
“The Tomb” marks the first appearance of Repairman Jack. A character I can tell you here and now, I know I am going to love.
The edited blurb (original blurb for me contains spoilers)
Much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Gia, Repairman Jack doesn't deal with electronic appliances--he fixes "situations" for people, often putting himself in deadly danger. His latest project is recovering a stolen necklace, which carries with it an ancient curse that may unleash a horde of Bengali demons. Jack is used to danger, but he overcome the curse of the yellow necklace?
I have to admit, reading the blurb above makes the book sound like a second rate old movie (something Jack loves by the way), however, the book is anything but.
Two things immediately struck me upon reading this novel:
1)    This book is completely different in style, content and setting to the Keep. Whatever the Adversary Cycle is, the link is not immediately obvious to me.
2)    There is no “tomb” in the book. There is a temple (explained in a backstory) but of a tomb there is no sign. Apparently Paul addresses this on his website. It does not bother me enough to check it out just yet though.
If I could some up “the Tomb” I would call it an enjoyable romp. Repairman Jack is a lovable character. Pining over his ex girlfriend without beginning to pretend understand her, Jack is not your typical ladies man, although he still manages to attract the female sex.
Alongside the unfolding drama around retrieving the necklace, a well though out back-story is gradually revealed. It explains why Jack has not followed in his siblings footsteps in getting a fancy career and why he struggles with his relationship with his father.
At the start of the book, Jack is approached with a seemingly impossible task of retrieving a stolen necklace. I was surprised when it appeared this was problem was simply resolved. F Paul Wilson does an excellent job of revealing that there was more behind the initial request and how Jack gets involved further and further into the mystery.
The plot is well thought out and is revealed at a fast pace. At all times the momentum is maintained as we shift through various characters point of view. This not only fleshes out the characters involved but also creates an element of suspense as the reader is privy to details that Jack is not. It makes Jack fallible as we know he is missing vital information and just not seeing the clues.
The other characters are strong, Gia and Vicky probably the most effective but the sexy and mysterious Kolabati and the crazy but honourable Kusim are also no card board cut-outs. The supernatural Rakoshi creatures are well realised and there are several scenes that stand out not necessarily spooky but dramatic nonetheless.
The twists are good and you can see how this is a great premise to start a series on. I have no idea where the next book fits into the cycle but I am looking forward to it.
My rating: 8.7