F. Paul Wilson’s GATEWAYS

14 05 2010

Wilson has raised the stakes every single time we have visited our favorite nonexistent Repairman. In the last book it was Gia and Jack’s unborn kiddo who were in grave danger (no pun intended), and now in Gateways we find Jack, for the very first time, on a trip outside of his precious New York to visit his estranged father who is in a coma after a hit-and-run “accident”–which we know right off the bat is not really an accident, as Jack has already been promised there shall be “no more coincidences” in his life.

To date Wilson has been very short on the details regarding the greater conflict Jack is finding himself caught up in. We know something about the Otherness, and we know that Sal Roma, the man-who’s-more-than-a-man (and also not actually named Sal Roma), is somehow involved. And we know there is another force, the “Ally” which has drafted Jack into its service, at war with the Otherness–but beyond that things are pretty hazy.

In Gateways, we are formally introduced to a third force: the mysterious women with the dogs. We’ve met them before, of course, but always in just in passing. I don’t know about you, but I had automatically assumed these women to be representatives of the unfriendly Ally–something which is blatantly denied by Jack’s new, supernaturally gifted, shortlived friend. I got the sense that the women were more directly connected to earth itself, with little stake in the greater conflict. Perhaps they are incarnations of Mother Earth herself?

Whoever this lady truly was, she ain’t it no more. Crazy Otherness-surrogate called up demon insects from said realm to flay the very skin from her bones–a large chunk of which deposits itself into Jack’s suitcase. Even in her death that Anya is a shifty broad.

Another developing theme in the last two books has been Jack’s first baby steps down a new road to legitimacy, compelled by his forthcoming child. In Gateways he takes a huge leap down that road, basically coming out to his father before a drawn-out, hectic swamp shootout. In the middle of a hurricane. With Sal Roma/Rasalom/Ms. Aralo/Molasar breathing down their necks. It was epic.

Yet another extremely compelling edition in my….third favorite series? it’s somewhere up there at least. And I’ll probably be starting the next novel this very evening.

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