Top positive review
Jack and the Designer Drug
Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2007
When I first read F. Paul Wilson, I thought of him as a horror writer, but the more I read of his books, the less I feel the label applies. Yes, he writes horror, but most of his novels would probably be better categorized as supernatural adventure: action-oriented thrillers that have an otherworldly quality. Of course, you're unlike to find such a genre in the book store, but many writers don't fit into those simple categories.
All The Rage is the fourth book in Wilson's Repairman Jack series and is part horror, part thriller and part science fiction. In it, Jack learns of a drug with a street name of Berzerk. The manufacturers, however, are a semi-legitimate drug company who refer to it as Loki. The effect of Loki is to unlock a person's aggressive side; in minute doses, this can be positive, but with too much, a person will become vicious and potentially homicidal.
Jack is hired by Nadia Radzminsky, a scientist working for the drug firm GEM. She is afraid her boss is being extorted by a local gangster Milos Dragovic and wants Jack to help him. Jack decides to take on Dragovic in a very indirect manner, in an effort to help not only Nadia, but another client as well. What neither Jack nor Nadia are aware of is that her boss is in business with Dragovic; specifically, the selling of Berzerk.
Loki gets its name because, like the Norse god, it is something of a shapeshifter. Every new moon, the fresh batches of Loki suddenly change into an inert chemical. What's stranger is all records of Loki's original form disappear and even memories of it grow vague. Nadia, unaware of the drug's use, is recruited to try and synthesize the drug. What she is also unaware of is that the source of the drug is a demonic being known as a rakosh, the last survivor of a previous confrontation with Jack (back in The Tomb).
While All The Rage has a more-or-less standalone story, it is better appreciated if you've read the first three Repairman Jack books. Besides the plot in this book, there is a larger story going on, one that pits Jack against something called The Otherness and a demonic being disguised as the human Sal Roma. This bigger story - which also relates to many others of Wilson's non-Jack novels and stories and continues beyond this book - has a nice Lovecraftian feel to it.
What's most important, however, is that this book, like its predecessors, is a fun read. Jack makes a good hero. Although both likable and intelligent, he is no superhero and he continues to find himself in way over his head. If you have enjoyed other books in the series, this should be another good read; if you haven't, start with the Tomb and get to this book later.