Review: Cold City

Posted: December 7, 2012 by in Books We Love (5/5 single_star) Meta: F. Paul Wilson, Horror, Mystery

Do you know Repairman Jack? If you don’t, you’ve been missing out on a terrific series of books by F. Paul Wilson. The Repairman Jack series has, over the years, grown into one of my favorite series. It has a near perfect mix of horror and thriller elements while managing to inject humor here and there.

Through the series, I’ve always had questions in my mind about Jack. I know what happened to his mom (and his reaction to it), but what did he do after? How did he meet Julio and Abe? What events forged him into the man we meet in THE TOMB? (Amazon)

Those questions start to be answered in COLD CITY.

COLD CITY (Amazon) is the first in a trilogy of the the early years of Repairman Jack… when he was just Jack. He’s just a young guy who has decided he wants to live completely of the radar. He’s just moved to New York City, and it’s 1990. That cold and calculating professional we all know and love? Yeah, he doesn’t exist yet. This Jack is still figuring things out. He does more on the fly than we the readers are used to. He makes knee-jerk decisions without thinking, and gets out of control. The natural fear here is the reader’s ability to buy into this, and perhaps a lesser author would have had difficulty pulling this off. Not F. Paul Wilson.

COLD CITY feels like a perfect line was drawn from Repairman Jack’s present self to his youth.

So what is this novel about? Like I said, this is about the fire that forges Jack into the vigilante we cheer for. Trouble is drawn to Jack, and COLD CITY wastes no time throwing Jack into the deep end of the pool. He gets a job driving a truck smuggling cigarettes. The pay is outstanding, the job easy for a bright kid like Jack. And then everything goes wrong. Jack finds himself the target of some vengeful Dominicans and Islamic terrorists. He starts up a love affair with an old friend. And then there is the whole thing with helping Julio with a couple of problems.

You know, business as usual for the fixer that Jack will become.

Do you know Repairman Jack? If you don't, you've been missing out on a terrific series of books by F. Paul Wilson. Read COLD CITY.

The pacing of the novel is relentless. There’s no fat needing trimmed here, and for me, the pages flew by. When I absolutely had to put the book down to get some sleep, I dreamed about it. I couldn’t stop telling my literate friends at work about it.

So yeah, I freaking loved COLD CITY.

I do have a few things I need to point out. First, for all you veterans of the series, there’s none of the the monster/supernatural/Adversary feeling in this book. That stuff starts in THE TOMB. Secondly, this book is not a standalone like the rest of the books in the series. In fact, my biggest complaint of COLD CITY is the ending. It just stops. Huge, massive cliffhanger. I literally screamed at the book that it could NOT BE DONE YET!!!! Needless to say, it didn’t listen. None of the plot threads are resolved. In a way, it’s frustrating. The year waiting for the next book is going to be complete agony. Last, the love affair Jack starts up didn’t really click for me. It may not bother you at all, but it did me.

All that said, I loved this book. Have you ever gone a looooong time without a truly amazing steak dinner? When you take that first bite, and the medium cooked morsel (or however you personally like it cooked) melts in your mouth. You don’t mean to, but you close your eyes and chew in pure, decadent pleasure. Every bite thereafter is like the best treat ever… and then suddenly, the steak is gone. You’ve eaten it all. That’s how COLD CITY was for me.

Maybe you’ve never read a Repairman Jack novel before. Maybe you read the first few, but now catching up seems daunting. If you fall in either of those two camps, COLD CITY is a great place to start (or re-start, if you will).

Enough talk. Go buy this book.

  • Recommended Age: 17+
  • Language: Yep. It can get pretty strong depending on the character talking.
  • Violence: Oh geez. Some scenes are just crazy in their brutality.
  • Sex: A couple of detailed scenes, not to mention some frank discussions. Additionally, one of the main themes of the novel is sex slavery.


  • Nick Sharps says:

    This prompted me to go get THE TOMB, so thanks!

  • Unknown says:

    This was my first Repairman Jack novel on your recommendation. I enjoyed the writing and pacing, finishing it in one day. The Jack character is interesting. I wasn't bothered by the love affair, I think it served to remind us that Jack is still a little human! I was, as you were, EXTREMELY disappointed with how the novel ends. It honestly felt like the author took a complete novel, arbitrarily cut it in half, and made two books out of it. It was so irritating that I think the rating should be downgraded to “books we like.” If I knew how the ending was going to be, I would have made a mental note not to purchase this until the trilogy is complete. Can you tell I am perturbed???

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