The Last Rakosh (Repairman Jack Novels) Hardcover – May 1, 2006
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"Repairman Jack is one of the most original and intriguing characters to arise out of contemporary fiction in ages." -- Dean R. Koontz
"The Tomb is one of the best all-out adventure stories Ive read in years." -- Stephen King (President of the Repairman Jack fan club)
"F. Paul Wilson is a hot writer, and his hottest and my favorite creation is Repairman Jack" --Joe R. Lansdale
From the Publisher
- Item Weight : 9.7 ounces
- Hardcover : 94 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1892950758
- ISBN-10 : 1892950758
- Dimensions : 5.51 x 0.38 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Overlook Connection Press; First edition (May 1, 2006)
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#4,627,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #115,679 in Horror Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Rakosh" was my first exposure to Jack, although not to Wilson himself. Jack, his girlfriend, and her daughter visit a traveling carnival that has a typical carnival attraction, a freak show, with a most atypical attraction, a rakosh. The rakoshi, for those like me who were unfamiliar with the creature, are very ferocious man-eating creatures with very sharp claws and teeth. This particular rakosh, billed by the carnival as a "sharkman," is caged up for the first part of the story, but manages to get away, leaving one of its former captors from the carnival very much the worse for wear. Jack, who was responsible for destroying the other rakoshi in another one of Wilson's books, goes after the creature in the wilds of southern New Jersey.
On one level, "The Last Rakosh" is a well written adventure story, similar to some "lion loose in the city" stories, except for the fact that the rakosh is a lot tougher than any lion. Being a supernatural creature, it only has two weaknesses, iron and fire, and Jack is forced to go after it with little advance warning or preparation, so he doesn't have much in the way of effective weaponry. But, on another level, equally like the "lion loose in the city" stories, it's a tale about the inherent cruelty of some people, in this case the carnival owner, whose treatment of the rakosh that was dying when first captured, is despicable enough even to garner some sympathy from Jack, who was very nearly killed by those same creatures previously.
Wilson does a very good job here of blending a fairly familiar fictional trope (a variant of the theme in "Like Water for Elephants") with some supernatural elements and turning it into something quite unique. Because "The Last Rakosh" is only about 40 pages long, the hunt and eventual confrontation between Jack and rakosh doesn't go on long enough to build real suspense (or a significant body count), but Wilson does a good job of showing how a resourceful man can assemble the materials he needs for such a hunt in very short order.
"The Last Rakosh" also gives newcomers some good insight into Jack's character. In essence, the problems in this story ironically arise originally due on Jack's efforts to be more humane towards the rakosh. These get subverted by the extremely mercenary and amoral carnival owner, resulting in the creature's escape. People who are familiar with this type of story have probably read this sort of material before, but never in quite the way Wilson tells it, thanks to the other worldly nature of the rakosh.
Although "The Last Rakosh" serves as a good introduction to Repairman Jack, it can be a bit daunting for those readers who aren't already familiar with Jack or the rakoshi. After I read the story, I did a bit of research into Wilson's bibliography, but readers shouldn't have to do that in a story like this. Wilson could have added a bit more background about Jack and his previous encounter with the rakoshi to make this story more friendly to newcomers to the series.
After reading this story, I can see how the Repairman Jack tales have captivated readers for decades. Wilson skillfully blends a familiar story type with a most unusual and dangerous adversary, and the result is an often thrilling adventure, but one with some moral side issues as well. Readers will enjoy taking a bite out of "The Last Rakosh," hopefully before it takes a bite out of them.
~I kinda liked the Rakosh character. He…It…was out of place. One can’t criticize a wild animal for being a wild animal. Neither wild animals nor Rakoshs belong in captivity.
~It was a different sort of story for me…I prob’ly won’t read another of the Repairman Jack series.
~It was well written and a change of pace. If horror stories are your thing, you most likely will enjoy this short story
In this short story Jack has discovered by sheer coincidence in a travelling freak show the whereabouts of the rakosh that survived the ship explosion and which he had presumed had drowned. Concerned that it will escape and continue its hunt for little Vicky, Jack decides to make sure that its survival is short-lived however things do not go to plan as the other inhabitants of the freak show have their own ideas regarding its future. Which leads up to Jack having to make a nighttime pursuit of his quarry through the Jersey Pine Barrens where he finds that he may be hunted and not the hunter.
I enjoy short stories and Mr. Wilson's writing, so I ordered a copy from amazon.com. I read it in less than a day. A very enjoyable tale, and one worth rereading.
Please note, this story is (for the most part) included in All the Rage. If you've already read that book, you probably won't want to plunk down $14 for this one.
If you ended up looking at this review and haven't read anything by F Paul Wilson yet, this is a nice introduction to his work.
Highly recommended to those who enjoy short stories.