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Gateways is the sixth Repairman Jack novel and continues the ongoing plot arc that ties into Wilson's seperate Adversary Cycle that began with The Keep and its sequel, The Tomb which first saw the introduction of the Repairman Jack character!
This time around sees Jack quickly travelling to Florida after his father is struck in a hit and run accident and left in a coma. But soon after arriving at the Retiremewnt Complex where his dad lives (Jack's brother Tom, a judge, is apparently too busy to visit), Jack begins to realise that all is not as it appears.....
Firstly the acident occurred on a deserted stretch of road in the middle of the night and was reported approximately twenty minutes before it even happened! Secondly, there is his dad's neighbour, an elderly woman with a dog, who knows more about Jack than he is comfortable with and who appears to be watching over his father. This seems to be more than a bit random after events in the last two books that saw first his sister then his girlfriend and her young daughter being targeted by supernatural forces. And then there was the piece of advice given to him by another old lady with a dog, "For you Jack, there are no more coincidences!" As he gets to know his dad's neighbour more closely, Jack begins to suspect that she is more than just casually involved!
And then there is the Witch Woman, Semlee, who lives out in the Everglades. What's her involvment and why is SHE so interested in Jack? The answers, when they come, will make a lot of things clear as events conspire to draw Jack in even closer to his final destiny....
This is rather an important book in the Repairman Jack series as it gives readers some valuable answers to questions they will long have wanted addressed during the course of this series even if they are already familiar with The Otherness and Sal Roma from his Adversary novels. That said, it is not the best of the series and, at times, feels like it is a book written just to brige a gap between novels.
There are much better books in the Repairman Jack series than this and even a few home truths and revelations coming out do not make this any better! Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad read and, like I say, has some very important moments that will affect the rest of series as a whole but compared to the previous installments, much of the excitment just felt lost here with Jack severly out of his comfort zone!
Not reading this will mean fans miss out on a great deal of important information but it will not be to everyone's tastes and that is a shame after the high quality of tension and suspense that flowed through Hosts, The Haunted Air and All The Rage like a rapidly increasing river. Here, the action is more like a trickle and the climax in paticular disappointed for me. That said, it was still enjoyable and lets be honest, even Stephen King's Dark Tower cycle had its let-downs at times!
One thing is for certain, F.Paul Wilson really needs to up his game again for the next book!