With a four month summer hiatus ahead of us, the question arises, how do we get our needed dosage of the Winchesters? For me, I read, and have found the tie-in novels for the TV series really fun to get lost in. I read for the same reason I watch TV, relaxation, entertainment and escapism, and the novels do not disappoint. Currently, there are five in the series and a sixth, War of the Sons by Rebecca Dessertine and David Reed, is due for release in August 2010. Keith R. A. DeCandido has written three of the Supernatural tie-in novels Nevermore, Bone Key and Heart of the Dragon. The first of his novels is the gist of this review.
When I first heard about the books, I was hopeful, but cautious. From what I've seen, media tie-in books run the gambit from great to unreadable. I was very pleasantly surprised with Nevermore. Published in August 2007, Nevermore was the first in the series, and involves a ghostly haunting and a series of bazaar murders based on the stories by Edgar Allen Poe.
Set in the second season between episodes Crossroad Blues and Croatoan, Dean and Sam head to the Bronx to help out Manfred Afiri, Ash's friend, and every bit as colorful as Ash himself. Manfred is a local rocker whose house is haunted with a lovesick blond apparition in a '80s heavy-metal T-shirt. But that's not all they find. A far more macabre crime catches their attention. Not far from the house, two university students were beaten to death by a strange assailant. A murder that's bizarre even by New York City standards, it's the latest in a line of killings that the brothers soon suspect are based on the creepy stories of legendary writer Edgar Allan Poe.
Set in the Bronx, and written by Bronx native Keith DeCandido, the novel brings forth a knowledge and emotion of the city that adds richness to the story. The great historical facts mixed in with the tale give it a very non-fiction feel.
Keith DeCandido is no stranger to Sci-fi novels either. He has authored more than 40 novels most of them in media universes such as Star Trek, but has also written tie-ins for other popular sci-fi and fantasy series as well, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, Andromeda, Farscape and now Supernatural.
He is also a professional music and his love for the art and Dean's love of rock music are really brought to the forefront in the book. At the back of the book, DeCandido added a list of songs he listened to while writing the novel, and recommends it as a listening soundtrack while reading, including the Supernatural favorite AC/DC's Back In Black. I found this a really fun and enjoyable addition to the book.
Another nice addition is the ability to be able to see the action from the perspective of the other characters, including a ghost, something which the time constraints of a television show doesn't allow. Another other nice touch, the author gave a tip of his hat to Jim Butcher's 'Dresden Files' by mentioning a female cop named Murphy, in Chicago, who happens to be part of the inner circle of paranormal secrets. And I loved Dean's little dig about CSI, and how there were better things to watch on Thursday nights. Yep.....the joke about CSI started way before Changing Channels!
This book is the early Winchesters is all their glory. It is 352 pages of a fast-paced, action-packed supernatural murder mystery complete with blazing shotguns and secret incantations. From Dean's frustration with driving in the Bronx (so Sam did it), and the 'hunter knowledgeable' Detective McBain (a friend of John Winchester), to Dean's reading the Poe stories and Sam's Latin spells, the story never gets dull. The plotline is engaging and full of bantering between the boys.
Throughout the book, the dialogue and rapport between the two were so vivid, I could actually
visualize Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki acting the scenes out.
Sam: I'm a little freaked out.
Dean: C'mon, Manfred's an okay guy.
Sam: It's not Manfred, Dean, it's you. It's like we're in Dean Disneyland in there with Fillmore East posters and the amps and the record collections. I'm worried we're never gonna get you outta there.
Dean: Dude, I can focus.
Sam: Hope so. Cause we got a spirit we know's gonna show on Friday night, and a murder that we know's gonna happen Monday night, and we're staying with a guy whose house is full of illegal narcotics when we're both wanted by the feds.
Dean: Anybody ever tell you you worry too much, Sam?
Sam: You, about four times a day.
Dean: Then consider this number five.
Priceless, huh! The book is filled with them. Sam's deliberate hassling of Dean when he's in his 'womanizing' mode results is a playful retort that ends with Dean threatening to pour a beer over Sam's head. Oh, and FBI agent Hendrickson makes and appearance, just to further complicate things for the boys.
'Nevermore' gave me many laugh-out-loud moments. And even though it is set in season two, is it still a wonder to read. It's like a step back in time for Supernatural fans, a lost episode and just as enjoyable (but no commercials!). Even a non Supernatural fan would enjoy this story. It's a good way to spend a lazy summer afternoon and a good way to get a much need 'fix' of our beloved brothers during this ever long hellatus!