This Repairman Jack book from F. Paul Wilson, Bloodline, the eleventh in the series, follows the New York Times bestseller, Harbingers.
Jack has been on hiatus since the events in Harbingers. With his lover Gia's encouragement he dips a toe back into the fix-it pool. Christy Pickering's eighteen-year-old daughter is dating Jerry Bethlehem, a man twice her age. Christy sensed something shady and sinister about him, so she hired a private investigator to look into his past. But the PI isn't returning her calls. Will Jack find out why?
Jack learns there's a very good reason for the unreturned calls: The PI is dead, a victim of a bizarre water-torture murder. As Jack delves into Jerry Bethlehem's past he learns that the man is not who he says he is. Who—and what—he is will have a devastating effect on Jack's life and future, adding another piece to the puzzle of who he really is and why he's been drafted into this cosmic shadow war.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
About the Author
F. PAUL WILSON, the New York Times bestselling author of ten previous Repairman Jack novels, is a practicing physician and lives in Wall, New Jersey.
F. Paul Wilson is the New York Times bestselling author of horror, adventure, medical thrillers, science fiction, and virtually everything in between. His books include the Repairman Jack novels—including Ground Zero, The Tomb, and Fatal Error—the Adversary cycle—including The Keep—and a young adult series featuring the teenage Jack. Wilson has won the Prometheus Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Inkpot Award from the San Diego ComiCon, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers of America, among other honors. He lives in Wall, New Jersey.
Read an Excerpt
A Repairman Jack Novel
By F. Paul Wilson
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2007 F. Paul Wilson
All rights reserved.
It was happening again ...
In the driver's seat, hands on the steering wheel, gunning the panel truck across Second Avenue toward the blond woman and her little girl ...
... gaining speed ...
... seeing their shocked, terrified expressions as he floors the gas ...
... feeling the impacts as he plows into them ...
... watching their limp, broken bodies flying as he races past, never slowing, never hesitating, never even looking back.
Jack awoke with his jaw locked and his fists clenched. He forced himself to relax, to reach out and lay a hand on the reassuring curve of Gia's hip where she slumbered next to him.
The dream again. Easy enough to interpret: He blamed himself for the hit-and-run, so his mind put him behind the wheel. Obvious.
What wasn't obvious was the timing. The dream occurred only under a certain condition: It meant the watcher was back.
Jack slipped from her bed to the window. The blinds were drawn against the glow from the streetlights. He peeked around the edge and ...
There he was.
As usual he stood at the corner, facing Gia's townhouse, wearing his customary homburg and overcoat; his right hand rested on the head of a walking stick. His position silhouetted him against the lights of the traffic passing on Sutton Place and caused the brim of his hat to shadow his face.
A big man and, if the slight stoop of his shoulders was any clue, elderly. Jack had first seen him outside his own apartment back in January ...just days before the hit-and-run. And lately he'd been showing up outside Gia's.
Jack had never been able to catch the guy. Not for lack of trying. He'd gone after him dozens of times, but the old guy seemed to know when Jack was coming.
Somehow the watcher always managed to stay one step ahead. If Jack waited inside the front door, dressed and ready to give chase, or sat in his car or hid in a doorway, watching the corner, the guy didn't show. Last month Jack had waited ten nights in a row — inside and outside, from uptown, downtown, and crosstown vantage points.
On the eleventh night he called it quits and went to bed. That night he had the dream again and, sure enough, a peek through the blinds confirmed the watcher's presence.
Deciding to give it another shot, Jack grabbed his jeans and hopped into them as he headed for the hall. He hurried down to the first floor and jammed his bare feet into his sneakers where they waited in the front foyer. Then out the door in a headlong dash across the street to the corner.
The empty corner.
But Jack didn't break his stride. This had happened every time — in the half minute or less it took him to reach the street the guy in the homburg disappeared. All it took was a few steps to put him around the corner and out of sight, but there was more to it.
Jack reached the corner and kept going, racing along Sutton Place for a full block, peering into every nook and cranny along the way. Tonight's attempt ended the same as all the others: nada.
His breath steaming in the night air, Jack stood on the deserted sidewalk, turning in a slow circle. Where did the son of a bitch go? Maybe a sleek Olympic-class sprinter could race out of sight in that short time. But some big old guy with a cane?
Didn't make sense.
But then, why should it? Nothing else did.
Check that: Events of the past year did make sense, but not in the usual way. Not the sort of sense that the average person could understand — or want to.
Jack rubbed his bare arms. It might be spring — mid-April — but the temperature was in the low forties. A bit cool for just a T-shirt.
He took one last look around, then hurried back to Gia's warm bed.CHAPTER 2
Someone said you might be able to help me. I need to keep my daughter from making a terrible mistake.
Jack stared at the last of the messages forwarded from his Web site, repairmanjack.com. None would have been of much interest even if he were working now. He'd blow them off later.
He'd looked into starting a site on MySpace because its sheer size provided an anonymity of sorts, but he'd almost bailed when he discovered that domains repairmanjack, repairman-jack, and repairman_jack were already taken. What the hell? He'd finally had to settle for www.myspace.com/fix_its.
But after setting it up he realized only other MySpace members could contact him there, so he'd kept his original as well.
"Jack? Can I bother you for a minute?"
Though he was in the study and Gia upstairs, Jack could hear the distress in her voice. He had a pretty good idea what was wrong.
"Be right there."
He took a quick sip of coffee and glanced at the computer's time display. Vicky was going to miss her bus if they didn't hustle.
He took the stairs two at a time to the second floor.
"Where are you?"
He walked in and found the two loves of his life sitting on the bed, Vicky facing away, Gia behind her, holding on to her long dark hair.
"I can't do it," Gia said, looking up at him with American-flag eyes: blue on white with red rims. "I still can't do it."
Gia looked too thin. Her weight was still down since the accident. She'd lost a lot during the coma and the early recovery period, but wasn't regaining it now that she was almost back to normal. Though not exactly sunken, her cheeks weren't as full, giving her a haggard look. She still cried now and then but, despite her therapist's advice, resisted taking an antidepressant.
She'd let her blond hair grow to the point where it was now longer than he'd ever seen it, covering her ears and the nape of her neck.
But at the moment Vicky's hair was the problem: Gia had started weaving the back into a French braid but had botched it badly. Not as badly as she had in preceding weeks, but still ...she used to be able to do this in thirty seconds — with her eyes closed. Now ...
"Look at this mess."
Jack crouched beside her and kissed her cheek.
"You're getting better every day. Just keep at it. You know what Doctor Kline said."
"'Practice, practice, practice.'" She sighed. "But it's so frustrating sometimes I want to scream."
And sometimes she did. But never when Vicky was around. Jack would hear her in another room, from another floor. He wondered how often she screamed when she was here alone.
Vicky half-turned her head. "Am I going to be late for school, Mommy?"
"You'll be fine, honey."
Some things had improved in the three months since the accident, but by no means had life returned to normal. Jack doubted it ever would. The broken bones had healed, but scars remained, on the body, the brain, the psyche.
Vicky had the best chance of leaving it all behind. The unborn sister she'd been waiting for would not arrive, and she'd accepted that. Emma had been no more than a bulge in her mother's belly and an image on an ultrasound monitor, not a little person she could see and touch.
Not so Gia. Three months ago she'd stepped off a curb as a mother-to-be and awakened days later to learn she'd lost the baby. Emma had been very real to Gia, a little person who'd turned and kicked inside her. More real to Gia than to her father, Jack.
Gia's scars ran deep.
And not being able to care fully for Vicky slowed their healing.
Her motor skills hadn't returned to normal yet, though they were worlds better than when she'd come out of her coma. With physical and occupational therapy she'd recovered about ninety percent of her manual dexterity, but it was the missing ten percent that was killing her.
She couldn't braid Vicky's hair.
And she couldn't draw or paint — at least not like she used to.
Which meant she couldn't make a living. Graphic art paid her bills, but her personal paintings soothed her soul. She worked daily at both in her third-floor studio, but didn't like much of what she produced commercially, and wouldn't show Jack her private paintings. He worried she'd one day explode and he'd find her splattered all over her studio.
"Am I going to be late for school, Mommy?"
Gia said, "You just asked me that, remember?"
Vicky frowned, then nodded. "Oh, right."
Vicky's only deficit was her short-term memory, but that was steadily improving. The neurologist said she'd be back to normal in a few more months. Her teachers were taking that into account and cutting her some major slack.
Jack looked around at the bookshelves lining the wall of her high-ceilinged bedroom. The good news was that Vicky was still a voracious reader. He glanced at her Jets banner — she remained a devoted fan — and at the four too-handsome faces crowded onto her Boyville poster — still her favorite music group, unfortunately.
Gia was unraveling the botched braid.
"You'd better do it or she'll be late."
As she rose to let Jack take her place, he gripped her elbow.
"Okay, but coach me. I still haven't got this down."
Not true. He'd helped so many times he could do it in his sleep.
So she stood over his shoulder and talked him through brushing out the hair, separating a nice fat lock, then poking his index and middle fingers through to divide it into three fat strands. Then the tricky part of keeping the strands in the webs of his fingers as he picked up new strands while braiding.
"Now ...which one do I start with?"
He felt a gentle punch on his back and heard a soft laugh from Gia.
"As if you didn't know."
She kneaded his shoulders as he worked.
"Boy, if the guys at Julio's could see you now."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, I doubt this is the guy they know."
"Maybe not. But you wouldn't hear a peep out of them."
"No rib nudging? No wisecracks?"
He looked up and winked at her. "Because of the guy they know."
He finished the weave — something very comforting about working with Vicky's hair — and tied it off with a blue elastic band.
"There. Not bad for a guy, ay?"
Gia bent and kissed his cheek. "Actually it's great. And thanks for being so patient."
He looked at her. "Patient? What's patient got to do with it?"
"Everything. It's not one of your strong points. Just ...thanks for putting up with me."
As she hurried Vicky downstairs, Jack remained on the bed, staring out Vicky's window at the still-bare trees and feeling low. Worse than low. Like a rat. And a cowardly one at that.
Patient? Of course he was patient. He would be patient with her under any circumstance. And considering how he was the cause of all the trauma that had befallen her and Vicky, how else could he be?
But she didn't know that. Because he hadn't told her. Yet.
Gia, the accident that killed our baby, that almost killed you and your daughter, that left the two of you with broken bodies and battered brains, was no accident.
When would be a good time to say that? When would it be okay to tell her it had happened because he cared for them, because they mattered to him, because the baby carried his bloodline?
Would there ever be a right time?
"Dollar for your thoughts?"
Jack jumped. "Hey."
Gia looked down at him. "You seemed a million miles away."
Her eyes bore into his. "Didn't look like happy thoughts."
He shrugged. "They weren't. Can you think of much to be happy about?"
She smiled. "I'm alive, Vicky's alive, and it's been great having you stay with us. So look on the bright side."
Yeah. The bright side: moving in here to take care of them after they were released from rehab. Not easy, but maybe the most rewarding thing he'd ever done.
She kissed the top of his head. "Okay, we're heading for the bus stop, then I'm off to OT."
"Want me to drive you?"
She shook her head. "A cab'll have me there by the time you degarage the car. See you for lunch?"
"It's a date."
"Got anything planned for the morning?"
"Probably hang with Abe."
She looked down at him. "No business?"
"What about that lady who wants help for her daughter?"
"I just saw it on the screen downstairs. She sounds worried."
Jack shrugged. "I'm on hiatus."
"You're bored is what you are. You've made our troubles your troubles, but we're coming out of those troubles. You need a break."
Couldn't argue with that. The less and less Gia and Vicky needed him, the more restless he'd become.
Gia squeezed his shoulder. "Why don't you see what she wants."
He looked up at her. "I believe I'm having an out-of-Gia experience."
She laughed — a sound he didn't hear nearly enough these days.
"Seriously," he said. "This doesn't sound like you."
"Maybe it's a new me. I know spending all your time hanging around here or at Abe's isn't you. I know who you are. I thought I could change you but I realize I can't. I'm no longer sure I want to. You are who you are and I love who you are, so why don't you go out and be who you are?"
Jack stared at her. She meant it — she really meant it. A crack about the lingering effects of brain trauma leaped to mind but he quashed it. Not funny.
"Maybe I'm not so sure who I am anymore."
"You know. It's in your blood. See what the lady wants."
"Doesn't sound like my kind of thing."
"Maybe not, but it's her daughter."
The last word hung in the air.
Daughter ... like Vicky was to him, emotionally if not legally ... like Emma would have been if not for ...
He remembered the message: I need to keep my daughter from making a terrible mistake.
Like what? Getting involved with a guy like me?
No ... he wasn't going there again. He'd been there too many times.
"Maybe I'm not on hiatus. Maybe I'm retired."
A wry smile: "Then why are you checking the Web site? As a matter of fact, if you're retired, why keep it up and running at all?"
"Maybe I just haven't got around to shutting it down."
"And maybe you need a diversion, Jack. Go on, give her a call. If it's not in your ballpark, simply beg off." She kissed him and headed for the door. "Gotta run. Think about it."
He sat a moment longer. When he heard the front door close he forced himself to his feet. Lots of inertia lately. Too long since he'd awakened with his own agenda for the day.
He ambled downstairs and into the study where he stood and stared at the screen.
Someone said you might be able to help me ...
She'd included her phone number.
What mistake do you think your daughter's going to make, lady? And why do you think a stranger will be able to do anything about it?
Okay. He'd bite. Couldn't see any down side to giving her a call.CHAPTER 3
"Nu?" Abe said as Jack approached his perch at the back of the store carrying a paper bag. "Two days in a row — what's the occasion?"
A lot had changed in Jack's life since January, but not Abe's place. The Isher Sports Shop — with its high shelves precariously jammed with dusty sporting goods that no one ever saw, let alone bought, the scarred counter at the rear, the four-legged stool where the proprietor perched in his food-stained white half-sleeve shirt and shiny black pants — remained a constant star in his firmament.
"Nowhere else to go."
"And on me you chose to bestow your presence."
"I figured you'd be lonely."
"So this is charity?"
"It is." He emptied the bag onto the counter. "And so's this."
Abe picked up the package of bagels and stared. His raised eyebrows furrowed his largely naked scalp — his hairline had started retreating with the glaciers.
"What's this? Low-cal bagels you bring me? What's a low-cal bagel? And whipped low-fat cream cheese? Why do you torture me?"
Jack ignored the question because Abe already knew the answer: His ever-expanding waistline concerned Jack. Not for aesthetic reasons — a skinny Abe would be a frightening sight — but he worried it would shorten his best friend's life.
"Have you weighed yourself recently?"
"I was on the scale just yesterday."
"And? What did it say?"
"I couldn't see it. My belly was in the way. They should design these things so people like me can read them."
"Come on, Abe. If it could speak it would have screamed in pain."
Abe sighed. "I did see the number. Very high."
"As much as one of the moons of Jupiter, I'll bet."
"When I read it, I had to face an inescapable fact."
"That you need to diet, right?"
"No. That I need a new scale. My old one is obviously broken."
Jack closed his eyes and shook his head. "You sucked me right into that one, didn't you."
"What can I say? I'm shameless."
"Why do I even try? Next time I'll stop at Muller's on the way."
Excerpted from Bloodline by F. Paul Wilson. Copyright © 2007 F. Paul Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Told a great story that tied in with the secret history perfectly.
With BLOODLINE, you can see the final act of the Repairman Jack series begin. Wilson has talked about how everything will lead up to a grand conclusion in Nightworld which will be rewritten to better tie in to all the previous novels. By leaving some of the plot lines open at the end of the novel, we can see how events will start to cumulate.BLOODLINE has Jack being hired by Christy Pickering to break up her teenaged daughter Dawn's relationship with a much older Jerry Bethlehem. It turns out that Jerry is on a mission from his father to create a baby with a large amount of "other" DNA and who will end up being a key factor in the fate of the world. We are also introduced to the Kickers movement which in addition to the oDNA seems to be tapped into the Otherness that is guiding Jack's nemesis across the novels.While it doesn't sound it from my description above, this book is grounded in reality a bit more than the more supernatural-based two previous novels. Jack's actions have a more concrete goal and a more immediate effect on his future than previous novels. Plus he starts to accumulate mysterious items which we know will become important by the end.
I've been a big fan of Repairman Jack since the beginning. As a part of the series, Bloodlines fills in the storyline nicely. But it's different from most of the other volumes, and I don't think this is one of the best. Repairman Jack fixes things for people. Usually through some sort of trickery, and half the fun of these books is in how the scam is pulled off. Woven through these stories has been an ongoing series of confrontations with agents of the Other. In Bloodlines, the confrontation comes to the front, and I think Wilson is headed to a final confrontation within the next few books. But the con is tossed in at the end, and I think the book suffers for it. Recommended for the continuing storyline, but don't start with this one. Read the whole series in order.
One of my current favorite characters. He never fails to get me to read the next book.
Another one of F. Paul Wilson's GREAT books!
The central plot is a really unappealing subject. Jack engages in totally uncharacteristic, dangerous behavior (pretending to be someone else with an easily seen-through alias and meeting with the 'bad guys' several times, engaging in cold-blooded killing just to fit the plot). Author Wilson needs to get creative in order to keep Jack and his secret life 'fresh' in the post-9/11 world and needs to return to the days of the RJ 'fixes' and the creepy supernatural events.... This book is just plain disgusting and not worthy of a 'RJ' title. I was tempted, for the first time while reading a RJ story, to simply put it down. I could not wait for it to be done and am not planning on reading the next in this series.
Nothing much happens in this one. No RJ fixes or anything like that, silly stuff with an author clone of FPW, icky central plot, just generally boring. Couldn't believe I found myself skipping entire paragraphs. Never thought that would happen with RJ series!
I can hardly wait to find out what Jack is up to and as usual was not let down. Still you see changes in him from the first book. Start at the beginning and read all of them they only get better. This was the best yet.
I don't read serial characters. Never liked Alex Cross. Not a fan of Kay Scarpetta. Not really a mystery series fan at all. But I love the Repairman Jack books. They're so fast paced and unpredictable...except this one. Bloodline was way too slow. Not much happened except a bunch of throw-away characters running around talking to each other, and you can see the ending coming from ten miles away. Here's to hoping the next one will be back on track.
Filled with guilt as he knows his vocation holds him culpable for the hit and run assault on his girlfriend Gia that left her battered and their unborn dead (see HARBINGERS), Repairman Jack has quit trying to fix things. He concentrates on helping his beloved heal physically and emotionally while keeping her and her daughter Vicky safe though he would not mind learning more about the Watcher who is always near at night but never there when Jack goes to confront him.--------------- When single mother Christy Pickering asks Jack to help split up her teenage daughter Dawn from twice her age Jeremy Bolton, he says no. However, Gia demands Jack take on the case as she insists they need to return to the norm, which for Jack is repairing things. Jack learns that Bolton has captured the attention of Dawn as the first male to show interest in her. He also finds out that the Feds have a scientific interest in Bolton, who¿s DNA makes him into a homicidal beast. Bolton¿s half brother Hank Thompson shares that same violent DNA while leading the Kickers cult. The siblings know their mission as assigned to them from their late father is to sire the dawning of a next generation of evil.--------------- The latest action-packed Repairman Jack thriller is an over the top implausible tale that will grip fans from the onset. Even when Jack stays domestic to keep Gia and Vicky safe, the story line is faster than the speed of light and never decelerates as BLOODLINES sets up the book twelve. Although not the strongest entry in this terrific series, the latest saga is still an enjoyable tale.----------- Harriet Klausner