Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Review: Panacea by F.Paul Wilson

Panacea by F.Paul Wilson

Hardcover, 383 pages

Published July 5th 2016 by Tor Books

In the Thrash Metal world there is a phrase the Big Four, that describes the biggest most popular bands. F.Paul Wilson is one of my personal big three when it comes to favorite living authors. I have a huge collection of his books. I flew across the country to the Borderlands writers bootcamp - mostly because I heard he was teaching plotting. The man is a plotting and structure Yoda in my opinion. No one writes thrillers with better pacing. He has written many types of novels but he is most known for his genre hopping Repairman Jack series with ties to his Adversary Cycle horror novel series. I would read the phone book if F.Paul Wilson did a draft.

So when it was announced that F.Paul Wilson was putting out his first non-Repairman Jack novel in years I marked the calendar and counted down the days. It took me a few weeks to get to it but I have read Wilson's latest novel Panacea and yes it is great.

Panacea shifts Points of View but our main character is medical examiner Laura Hanning who is called to the scene of a John Doe burned to a crisp. It seems like just another body at first but Laura discovers a web of conspiracy connected to a liquid - the mythical cure-all Panacea. Laura has a sick child herself, but she doesn't believe in the Panacea. After a string of miracle cures at a local hospital she is hired by a dying billionaire. She still doesn't believe but the money is too great. Follow the cures, the money the clues. With a Ex-navy SEAL (maybe?) named Rick Hayden as her bodyguard they set out across the globe to discover the origin of the Panacea.

This is a great global trek thriller that follows Rick and Laura across the global as the CIA, ancient cults and more try to beat or stop them. This is a fun tale! Trade mark Wilson plotting and reversals are on display, and yes it connects with several easter eggs to the Secret History that expands through his whole universe. Rick and Laura are great characters and they make the book for me. You can certainly see how Wilson will expand into another book, and he is working on one now.

The very coolest aspect of the plot of this novel is the ticking time bomb. Wilson toys with this well known trope but creating a situation where we the reader are watching the ticking clock storyline but our hero is totally clueless that the clock is ticking. Wilson does it again!

It is not a repairman Jack novel at all, but I think Jack fans will find this novel like putting on a comfy sweatshirt. It has all the feel of and consistency we enjoyed. If there is a weakness it is that so much of how the plot comes together SEEMS convenient. This might throw off new readers, but long time fans of Wilson's Secret history knows that there are forces at work directing EVERYTHING.

Wilson's medical background adds small but important moments of Clarity, but they never slow down the story. Globe trotting thrillers need a frantic pace and Wilson swift and no nonsense prose moves the story quick. Very pleased and ready for book two!

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