Wilson's latest Repairman Jack thriller (after All the Rage) shows the long-running series still creatively malleable and full of surprises. Each begins with the identity of the latest person to seek the urban mercenary's unorthodox skills: his beloved sister Kate, who's unaware at first it's her younger brother's job to "fix" problems and injustices that fall outside the usual legal boundaries. Kate asks Jack to investigate an apparent cult that her lover, Jeannette, has fallen in with while recovering from experimental viral treatment for a brain tumor, and Jack finds that the virus, tainted with a contaminant that has made it sentient, is organizing infected human hosts into "the Unity," a hive consciousness single-mindedly devoted to spreading itself throughout the world.
My favorite so far of the first five books of the Repairman Jack series. Jack is reunited with his sister and fights a sentient virus that takes over the mind of its human host so the person becomes part of a single hive mind, devouring the infected person's personality as it matures. Interwoven with this is the side plot with Jack stopping a gunman who opens fire in a subway train, but then having to deal with an overzealous young reporter determined to make Jack a celebrity because of it.
Hosts seemed to me to have a bigger scope than the previous books in the series. There are points in the book describing exactly what the world would become if the virus was not stopped. I felt these visions further increased the intensity since you see that it is not just Jack rescuing a few people, but really Jack saving the world. By the end of the book, I got the strong feeling that the epic struggle of good-vs-evil entities was just beginning in earnest & that Jack must become a warrior to defend all of humanity. (note-throughout the series the author stresses that the "good" entity is not so much good as indifferent but for me this is the easiest way to describe these opposing powers) Now I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
As is always the case with the series, Wilson does an excellent job with the character of Jack so that readers new to the series will be able to pick up on him and fans will learn a little bit more. It seemed like a bigger part of the story came from the viewpoint of supporting characters rather than being almost entirely Jack's point of view. Although I love Jack, I thought this change in viewpoint really fleshed out the side characters more than previous books.