Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jack: Secret Vengeance-F. Paul Wilson

Jack: Secret Vengeance
F. Paul Wilson
Tor, Feb 1 2011, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765318565

In 1983 in Johnson, New Jersey Senior quarterback Carson Toliver is the big man on campus at South Burlington County Regional High School. Almost all the students worship the football team captain partly because Carson knows how good he is at the sport but instead of being a snob he is friendly towards everyone. Even Jack admires Carson especially after watching him intervene when a bully was threatening harm to a social Jersey Pine Barrens “Piney” misfit.

He is not surprised when his best friend Louise “Weezy” Connell goes on a date with Carson as she has an obvious crush on the star. However, Jack is stunned when a heartbroken Weezy tells him soon afterward that Carson sexually assaulted her. He pleads with Weezy to report the attack, but she has parental issues and fears retaliation so she prefers to say nothing; she begs Jack likewise to remain silent. However no one told Carson to shut up as he brags about that night. With his buddy’s reputation in tatters as she is now known at school as “Easy Weezy”, raging Jack vows to sack Carson with the Pineys providing support.

The third Repairman Jack “Secret” youth years (see Secret Histories and Secret Circle) is a superb entry that allows readers to see fourteen year old freshman Jack honing the skills that he will need as an adult working the Adversary Cycle countdown into Year Zero. Fifteen years old veteran sophomore Weezy adds an element of helpless futility as she believes she has no options to get back at Toliver the rat. Jack tries to wrong a right while learning to move and that violence begets violence.

Harriet Klausner

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