Lew? Lew? Can you hear me? Listen carefully. I'm okay now, but I need help. I'm not where you can find me. Only Repairman Jack can find me. Only he will understand. You can find him on the Internet. Remember: onle Repairman Jack and no one else. Hurry, Lew. Please hurry.

As a rule, Repairman Jack doesn't do missing persons work. The police have better resources for that sort of thing, and all too often it turns out the missing person doesn't want to be found. Besides, the last time he took on a missing person case, it nearly got him killed. But when he hears the last message Melanie Ehler sent to her husband Lew, he's curious. Why is he the only one who would understand? Why would this woman he's never heard of tell her husband to find him of all people? Disregarding his own instincts and common sense involving curiousity and cats, he agrees to look into the matter.

Though Jack has divorced himself from society and withdrawn from the system, he doesn't actually believe that secret government agencies are out to get him, or that aliens are abducting people for their own nefarious purposes, or even that the End Times are nigh and the Antichrist walks among us. But Melanie Ehler dealt with groups that believe all of that, and more, and she was working on the greatest conspiracy theory of them all when she disappeared. She believed she had found the Grand Unification Theory of conspiracies; the one theory that explained everything from the men in black to the Antichrist, from alien implants to the 666 chip supposed to turn the faithful into soldiers for Satan during Armageddon. To find her, Jack must immerse himself in these paranoid delusions, and mingle with members of the most exclusive organization of conspiracy theorists around, the Society for the Exposure of Secret Organizations and Unacknowledged Phenomena (SESOUP).

The deeper Jack goes, the stranger things get. The founder of SESOUP, Sal Roma, somehow knows about the claw scars across Jacks chest and exactly what made them. Nightmares about the rakoshi plague Jack during his stay at the SESOUP conference, and are followed by the appearance of strange crates in his hotel room. And while working on a second case involving a brutal wife-beater and the co-dependent woman he married, Jack starts to suspect he's being followed. Either paranoia is contagious, or the nutcases he's dealing with might not be so crazy after all....

In Conspiracies, F. Paul Wilson brings Repairman Jack back to the familiar ground of supernatural horror. He also begins weaving the tangled threads that irrevocably tie the series in with the books of the Adversary Cycle and link Jack with the entity known as the Otherness, completely alien to our reality and desperate to take it over. Throughout the novel, Jack remains lost and confused by a world he thought he knew, a world that might well be controlled by any or all of the conspiracies he learns about. His own paranoia about becoming part of the system seems mild indeed compared to insanity he finds within SESOUP.

As in the other novels in the series, the focus remains on the characters, but without detracting from the action. Jack is again Everyman, faced with forces at work in the world that defy comprehension. He must scramble to protect those he loves, Gia and Vicky, from his work, and realizes more and more the price they pay for the kind of life he leads. The various conspiracy nuts are well written and fleshed out as well, and it's very entertaining to watch Jack play their paranoid delusions off one another as he tries to seek out the truth.

So head to your library or bookstore and grab a copy of Conspiracies today. If you think you know what forces drive our world today, you're in for an eye-opening experience. Close the blinds, lock the doors, and above all, watch the skies.


Sources:
Wilson, F. Paul. Conspiracies. Tom Doherty Associates. 2000.

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