Sixth outing for Repairman Jack, after Hosts (2001), in which Jack rediscovered his sister Kate, a lesbian (now dead), and saved us from a huge sentience entering mankind through mind-altering drugs spread by The Unity.
Jack, an anonymous vigilante, time and again pulls us back from full surrender to occult forces. He himself has never been fingerprinted, avoids credit cards, is a mystery man not far from a comic strip hero, and his novels have come to mix the supernatural, horror, suspense, science fiction, and smart medical hooks. In the ghost story here, it’s not giving away too much to say that this time out Jack fights a child-murdering group called The Circle and that the huge sentience mentioned above, the Otherness, clearly has the world under its spell. There apparently also exists an anti-Otherness, which or who opens passages for all of Jack’s actions throughout the series and hurls him against the first Otherness—though Jack has free will. Mourning Kate, Jack is taken by pregnant girlfriend Gia to a kooky loft party in Queens. They go with painter Junie Moon to see Ifasen, a psychic. But as Gia enters, the psychic’s house shakes and a fissure opens in the cellar, all to a human screech as from the damned. Then Jack spies a bullet hole in Ifasen’s window. It turns out that Ifasen’s real name is Lyle and that he and his brother Charlie run a fake psychic setup, stealing customers from richer psychics who are so angry at Lyle and Charlie that only Jack can repair the damage. Poltergeists, ghosts, and a haunted airwall appear. One child has had her heart dug out in a series of child sacrifices by The Circle as it tries to gain immortality from the Otherness. Subplots branch and come together as Jack takes on The Circle. The Otherness remains to play another day.
Entertaining fan-fodder but no chiller like The Exorcist or Lovecraft’s Cthulhu sentiences.