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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! 


# Ishtar 2010-06-16 23:05
Awww, man! I made a pact with myself that I would wait until after the series is over to read the novels. Now I'm going to feel the urge to browse for them every time I go into a bookstore. This makes me really excited though. I was worried they were going to suck, and some said they did, but this awesome review is enough for me to push those apprehensions aside and give it a shot.
# ElenaM 2010-06-16 23:36
Been slightly wary of tie-in products, but I'm gonna have to check this out now... Nice review! 8-)
# Tigershire 2010-06-17 01:07
I too have read all the tie-in books. I just finished The Unholy Cause (it was what kept me occupied waiting and flying on my recent vacation - traveling with Sam and Dean :lol:-).

Considering how difficult it must be to try to tell a story in someone else's universe, I think all the authors have done a great job so far. I have been able to "hear" the boys in my head in each book.

This was a really good review. Thanks Sablegreen.
# Jasminka 2010-06-17 04:26
Sablegreen, thank you for this nice review. I have read this novel, as any other tie-ins for the same reason: get another episode in a time when we wouldn't get one on tv. This one I also liked, and being an admirer of Poe for as long as I remember, the idea of the story was in particular interesting to me and the author writes in a manner you can easily imagine an episode.
Love Jas
# elle2 2010-06-17 06:39
Hi, Sablegreen,

Well, now you've done it...I'm thinking I will pick up a copy of this at my local bookstore. I've browsed a couple (perhaps even this one) and thumbed a few pages but always put them back assuming that tie-in novels never work and why ruin things. This review has changed my mind, especially because you took the time to learn the meaning behind certain aspects of the author's story, names of characters and the meta behind them.

I'll add this to my list of things to pick up this weekend when I'm on errands and enjoy some time with the boys via this media outlet.

Thanks for the review!
# Suze 2010-06-17 07:08
I usually steer clear of tie-ins now as I've ploughed through some seriously dodgy ones in the past ... Cough, massively crap Angel/Firefly graphic novels, cough ... But it's months until the next fix so I might have to mooch over to Amazon and have a little look ... :D
# BagginsDVM 2010-06-17 19:55
I've read all of the tie-in Supernatural novels so far & have been pleasantly surprised by them. Some are better than others, but I think they are worth a read.
Thanks for the review!
# Karen 2010-06-18 09:25
Hi Sablegreen
This is really funny I just purchased Heart of a Dragon two weeks ago. I hadn’t seen any of these books for so long I didn’t realize they were still writing them.
I bought and read Nevermore and Bone Key a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed them. I too found myself having laugh-out-loud moments and could actually visualize Sam and Dean in these books. Sadly I was never able to find Witch’s Canyon. However whenever I was at my local bookstore I would check for it and this is how I came across Heart of the Dragon. I haven’t started reading it yet, as I’m reading something else at the moment. But it is definitely next on my list to read.
# Sablegreen 2010-06-18 09:38
Nevermore was one of my favorite books from the SPN collection, and I've read them all. Witch's Canyon was the top for me, but like you guys I liked them all. Thanks for the comments. I'll be doing Witch's Canyon next. Hope you like that review as well. These are a lot of fun to write!
# Evelyn 2010-06-23 01:48
Great review Sablegreen. I read this book when it first came out and really enjoyed reading it and you really can visualize the characterizatio ns made in this book. I loved Manfred and the house they stayed in. Also enjoyed the bar that they went to with Manfred. Got a kick out of those scenes. This was a compelling story and thoroughly enjoyed it cover to cover.

I have also read Bone Key and Witch's Canyon and would highly recommend them. I have the other books on my nightstand waiting to be read, but haven't gotten to them yet. I especially enjoyed Witch's Canyon. For me that book really got intense in a couple of places and had a hard time putting it down. That is a book I would love to see in an episode. thanks again.
# Sablegreen 2010-06-23 09:00
Thanks for commenting Evelyn. Witch's Canyon is very intense in a number of areas but it so defines the hunting skills of the Winchesters. Hard to believe that those who liked Nevermore didn't like Witch's Canyon and visa versa, They both aptly portrayed different sides of the boys and were dead on both times (no pun intended) :D
mary E
# mary E 2010-08-10 22:08
I have read Nevermore, Bone Key and Witch's Canyon and love those. I also have the unholy cause, and I was wondering what other books are there in the series? :-?
# kali 2011-01-04 18:50
dose enyone know the first book in the series just bought all of them dont know witch to read first
# nancyL 2011-01-04 19:39

1. 'Nevermore' :takes place in between 'Crossroad Blues' and 'Croatoan'.

2. 'Witch's Canyon' :takes place in season two, after 'Nevermore'.

3. 'Bone Key' :takes place after 'A Supernatural Christmas'.

4. 'Heart of the Dragon' : takes place after 'Changing Channels'.

5. 'The Unholy Cause' : takes place in season five, sometime after 'Free to be'.

6. 'War of the Sons' takes place after 'My Bloody Valentine'.
Sherry Soule
# Sherry Soule 2011-08-12 13:02
So addicted to this show. Dean and Sam are badass!

Author of the Spellbound Series