Reviews for Jack : Secret Histories


Booklist Reviews 2008 May #1
Although some may consider this a kind of prequel to his best-selling adult Repairman Jack series, Wilson's first young adult book gives only a slim indication of the future Jack; here Jack fights evil occult forces while attempting to solve a mystery. Jack and his two friends stumble upon a body and a strange stone pyramid box in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Things grow even more mysterious when the kids discover links to a cult of sorts in their very own town--and cult members start dying off. Most of the intrigue comes from the trio's attempts to find out what mysteries the black box holds. The plot is helped out far too much by the fact that a sheriff dates Jack's older sister, who shares what she learns with Jack. Jack. Blue Balliett's object-puzzle mysteries (The Calder Game) are much more intriguing, but this does have some gripping moments. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
Exploring the New Jersey Pine Barrens, fourteen-year-old Jack and his friends discover a strange artifact and a decomposing head. The ensuing mystery points to a secret prehistory of the world. Jack is a credible teenage version of an adult-series character. Distractingly, though, Wilson overemphasizes the 1983 setting with an overabundance of '80s trivia and prescient winks. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #2
The bestselling author of the Repairman Jack thriller series moves into the young-adult market with a prequel about the teenage Jack, who is just discovering his talents. At age 14, Jack's interests focus on his friends, especially his friend Eddie's sister, black-clad Weezy. The trio find a body and a mysterious black cube in the forest, both connected to a secret society of possibly ancient origin. Although Wilson drops a tinge of the supernatural into the book, he hews to a basic detective-story plot, with plenty of suspense to keep readers charging ahead. Despite the unrealistic premise, the text makes it easy for readers to suspend disbelief as Jack learns that he has a talent for figuring his way out of difficult situations. Wilson deftly keeps interest high with well-drawn characterizations, modulating the thrills with details of day-to-day life in the early 1980s. Cracking good fun for teens. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 October
Murder, a secretive lodge, and long kept secrets face Jack, the character of Wilson?s adult novels, and his friends. It starts when the three friends find a body, the victim of ritual murder. With the body is a black box, which only Jack and a friend?s father can open to reveal a pyramid engraved with strange symbols. In seeking answers, the friends are faced with two other murders, a lodge called the Ancient Septimus Order that may be involved, and their own feelings about it all. Eventually, it is discovered that the Lodge was indeed responsible for the murders and another friend?s dad is the culprit. With plenty of mystery, suspense, and action, the book keeps the reader?s interest, and can be enjoyed without having read the adult series. Pop culture references from the 1980s, the time frame of the novel, are frequent but understanding them is not critical to the plot. The ending leaves several elements unsolved, pointing to future novels. The book is ideal for mystery/conspiracy theory novel fans mature enough to handle the various factors. Recommended. Betsy Ruffin, Irving Elementary, Cleburne, Texas ¬ 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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VOYA Reviews 2008 June
Jack enjoys wandering through the Pines with his fiends Weezy and Eddie. On one of their explorations, Weezy discovers a group of unusual formations, mounds of sorts that seem out of place in the spooky woods. Buried in one of the mounds is a black box. Although Weezy tries every tool in her kit, she cannot open the box. Jack, however, manages to uncover the secret of the onyx container. While the box unfolds, the mystery begins as do the deaths in Johnsonville, a fairly small and quiet community. What is the secret of the box? Do Lodge members share the secret? Jack and his friends do their best to find the answers before more people die. In Wilson's first novel for young adult readers, Repairman Jack from his adult works makes his debut. In order to tell the story of the young Jack, Wilson opts to set this novel in the 1980s. Although that makes sense from one point of view, most teen readers will likely find the references to music, pop culture, early computers, and the birth of the CD less than interesting. For teens who have grown up with computers, CDs, Internet, and the other conveniences of their adolescence, "historical" details function more as obstacles and less as guideposts to the time of the novel.-Teri S. Lesesne 3Q 1P M Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

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