Munir Habib's life has become a nightmare. His tormentor has warned Munir not to report the kidnapping of his family, or they will pay a terrible price. But a friend realizes something is terribly wrong and tells Munir he doesn't have to go to the cops. There's a guy who fixes situations like this--Repairman Jack.
Jack is backed into helping Munir despite his ongoing involvement in the cosmic shadow war between the Ally and the Otherness. Or perhaps because of it. He's chafing at being forced into the defensive role of protecting the Lady, the physical embodiment of the consciousness of the planet Earth.
Meanwhile, the Septimus Order and the Kickers are seemingly working in concert on a plot to extinguish the Lady and open the way for the Otherness to take over our reality. To top it all off, Dawn Pickering finally goes into labor and delivers a baby she only glimpses as it's whisked away, and is terrified by what she sees. Later she's told the baby died, but she doesn't believe it. Neither does Weezy. Neither does Jack.
All these interlocking plots mean doom for humanity. But Jack never gives up or gives in.
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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 and The Tomb; 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.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
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Munir stood on the curb, facing Fifth Avenue with Central Park behind him. He unzipped his fly and tugged himself free. His reluctant member shriveled at the cold slap of the winter wind, as if shrinking from the sight of all these passing strangers.
At least he hoped they were strangers.
Please let no one who knows me pass by. Or, Allah forbid, a policeman.
He stretched its flabby length and urged his bladder to empty. That was what the madman had demanded of him, so that was what he had to do. He’d drunk two quarts of Gatorade in the past hour to ensure he’d be full to bursting, but he couldn’t go. His sphincter was clamped shut as tightly as his jaw.
Off to his right the light at the corner turned red and the traffic slowed to a stop. A woman in a cab glanced at him through her window and started when she saw how he was exposing himself. Her lips tightened and she shook her head in disgust as she turned away. He could almost read her mind: A guy in a suit exposing himself on Fifth Avenue—the world’s going to hell even faster than they say.
But it has become hell for me, Munir thought.
He saw her pull out a cell phone and punch in three numbers. That could only mean she was calling 911. But he had to stay and do this.
He closed his eyes to shut out the line of cars idling before him, tried to block out the tapping, scuffing footsteps of the shoppers and strollers on the sidewalk behind him as they hurried to and fro. But a child’s voice broke through.
“Look, Mommy. What’s that man—?”
“Don’t look, honey,” said a woman’s voice. “It’s just someone who’s not right in the head.”
Tears became a pressure behind Munir’s sealed eyelids. He bit back a sob of humiliation and tried to imagine himself in a private place, in his own bathroom, standing over the toilet. He forced himself to relax, and soon it came. As the warm liquid streamed out of him, the waiting sob burst free, propelled equally by shame and relief.
He did not have to shut off the flow. When he opened his eyes and saw the glistening, steaming puddle before him on the asphalt, saw the drivers and passengers and passersby staring, the stream dried up on its own.
I hope that is enough, he thought. Please let that be enough.
But he was not dealing with a sane man, and he had to please him. Please him or else . . .
He looked up and saw a young blond woman staring down at him from a third-floor window in a building across the street. Her repulsed expression mirrored his own feelings. Averting his eyes, he zipped up and fled down the sidewalk, all but tripping over his own feet as he ran.
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