When I was 14 years old, I read a book called The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson.
It introduced the single greatest hero in modern thriller fiction, a guy named Repairman Jack.
Jack fixes things. Not things appliances or computers. He fixes problems. Such as that ex-husband who is stalking you. Or the gang hitting up your shop for protection money.
Like everyone else who has read The Tomb, I thought Jack was cooler than hell. In fact, my first novel (written in 1992 and still unsold) featured a guy named Phineas Troutt who called himself a "problem solver."
That was an homage (which is French for rip-off) of Paul's Jack character.
I never sold that first book, but I liked Phin well enough to make him a character in the Jack Daniels series. He's also been in Ellery Queen a few times, and has a story in my upcoming anthology These Guns for Hire.
But Phin's greatest achievement is a story in the Thriller anthology, edited by James Patterson. And guess who else is in that collection? F. Paul Wilson, and Repairman Jack. Was I happy? You betcha.
Paul, and Jack, are currently having a pretty cool contest:
STUMP REPAIRMAN JACK AND WIN $1000!!!
F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack website is running a contest and offering a $1000 to the person who submits the most original / intriguing / interesting / challenging problem for Repairman Jack.
Go to www.repairmanjack.com, click the contest button, and get started.
The winner will receive a cool grand. But thatÂs not all. If possible, Paul will work the winning problem into a forthcoming Repairman Jack novel and use the winnerÂs name as the character who brings it to Jack.
No fees, no tricks, no limit to the number of entries. What are you waiting for?
As far as contests go, I think this is a smart one. A grand is a lot of money. And the best way to get this money is to read some of Jack's adventures to get a feel for the kinds of 'fixes' he does.
The Tomb is a good place to start. You can also check out Legacies, Conspiracies, The Haunted Air, Infernal, Crisscross, All the Rage, Hosts, and Gateways. No BS, Paul is writing some of the best stuff in the business, and if you haven't discovered him yet you're doing yourself a disservice.
Paul promises he'll read every entry, and give special consideration to the writers that I sent his way, so drop my name and drop it often.
In the meantime, I'm getting to work on my Repairman Jack scenario. Something where he has to work alongside Phineas Trout...