Following The Haunted Air, New York Times bestselling author F. Paul Wilson returns with another riveting episode in the saga of Repairman Jack, the secretive, ingenious, and heroic champion of those whose problems no one else can solve.
In Gateways, Jack learns that his father is in a coma after a car accident in Florida. They've been on the outs, but this is his dad, so he heads south. In the hospital he meets Anya, one of his father's neighbors. She's a weird old duck who seems to know an awful lot about his father, and even a lot about Jack.
Jack's arrival does not go unnoticed. A young woman named Semelee, who has strange talents and lives in an isolated area of the Everglades with a group of misshapen men, feels his presence. She senses that he's "special," like her.
Anya takes Jack back to Dad's senior community, Gateways South, which borders on the Everglades. Florida is going through an unusual drought. There's a ban on watering; everything is brown and wilting, but Anya's lawn is a deep green.
Who is Anya? Who is Semelee, and what is her connection to the recent strange deaths of Gateways residents-killed by birds, spiders, and snakes during the past year? And what are the "lights" Jack keeps hearing about? Lights that emanate twice a year from a sinkhole deep in the Everglades . . . lights from another place, another reality.
If he is to protect his father from becoming the next fatality at Gateways, there are questions Jack must answer, secrets he must uncover. Secrets . . . Jack has plenty of his own, and along the way he learns that even his father has secrets.
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As in his last Repairman Jack novel, The Haunted Air (2002), Wilson deftly contrasts the self-imposed isolation of his vigilante hero with the forced exile of society's outcasts. When he learns that his estranged father is in a coma after a car accident, Jack travels to Florida, where his father has been living in a retirement community, Gateways South, which encroaches a bit further into the Everglades than the brochures would have you think. Jack soon has another run-in with what he calls "the Otherness," a Lovecraftian evil that here pervades a lagoon and the community of mutated rednecks surrounding it. Wilson is unsurpassed in depicting his characters' feelings of alienation as they attempt to comprehend the cosmic forces that have misshapen their lives. Particularly vivid is Semelee, an albino woman-child who achieves a certain degree of domination over her mostly male brethren by virtue (or lack thereof) of her sexuality. Jack's reconciliation with his father, along with the discovery that his father is also no stranger to the finer points of violence, could have been maudlin in the hands of a lesser writer, but Wilson provides just enough conflict between the two to allow their newfound love for each other to be convincing. This one will appeal to horror aficionados and to fans of Carl Hiassen and James Lee Burke.