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Between the kids and lesson planning/marking, I don’t have a lot of spare time, but what I have often goes into my two passions—sci-fi/horror television and reading. Inevitably that leads me to reading television tie-in books. In general, I have always found that movies or television developed from books pale next to the original. (See Dresden Files or Bones—the television adaptions are entertaining but not brilliant, but stories by the original authors really kick ass!)

Unfortunately, after spending the cash on the tie-in books I have found that the same is often true. Characters are often wooden and dialogue unnatural. One of my great interests, as a mature female sci-fi fan is the by-play and relationships between friends, relatives, lovers and enemies. Often tv tie-ins ignore these or get them very wrong. This is why I now spend a lot of time reading good fan fiction. However, until I figure a way to lay in a hot bath and surf livejournal, I’m still going to buy those books with my fingers crossed.

I feel I hit the jackpot with two Supernatural books I just finished reading. They arrived at my local big box book store (say that five times fast), finally after four freaking seasons of the show, and I bought two not really expecting much. Well at least the boys look really cute on the cover, I said to myself. Boy was I wrong! Both books by Keith R.A. DeCandido are amazing.

Nevermore is set in season two and takes the Winchesters to the Bronx for two jobs. They need to stop a serial killer who is recreating stories from Edgar Allen Poe’s writing using real people with very fatal results. The other plot revolves around a friend of Ash, who is equally stuck in another era’s style. He is a classic-rock cover band lead singer with a spirit haunting his house.

The book, like the series, combines supernatural, suspense, and humor in equal amount. The ongoing gags about trying to find a parking spot (and one big enough for the Metallicar) and about trying to navigate the maze of streets are entertaining. Dean even makes Sam drive. Unthinkable but totally in character once set up properly by DeCandido who has a wickedly accurate Dean inner voice going.

“Sam didn’t have the same attachment Dean did to the black 1967 Chevrolet Impala, the family car their father had passed on to Dean. (Then again, Sam sometimes thought he didn’t have the same attachment to his late girlfriend Jessica that Dean had to the Impala.)”

Also funny is Dean’s kid in a candy store vibe when left in a house full of his favourite bands on vinyl.

Bone Key is set in season three in Key West with tourists being killed by local ghosts who suddenly have a lot more juice than ever before. I found the plot and characterization even better in this, DeCandido’s second Supernatural novel. The original characters are well as well fleshed out as the first novel, but the climax is more exciting, with Dean having to make some very dangerous decisions in order to save a Sam who is trapped facing imminent death.

In Bone Key the author has the dialogue and inner voices of Dean, Sam, and Bobby dead on.

“Sam peered down at his brother. ‘Since when are you the whiny emo bitch of this partnership?’
Rolling his eyes, Dean said, ‘Kiss my ass, Sammy, you know what I mean.’ ”

There are many funny and in-character interactions between the brothers and with Bobby. My person favourite is when Dean is picking a lock and tells Sam to stand between Dean and the street and make himself “look tall”.

“ ‘I don’t need to make myself tall, Dean, I am tall,’ Sam said in that tone he always used when he gloatingly reminded Dean that, for all that Sam was the ‘little’ brother, he had a good three inches on Dean. Sammy’d been using that tone since hitting his growth spurt at age fourteen and shooting past Dean on the height chart. Back then, of course, Sam provided those reminders approximately once every five minutes. ‘Hey,’ teenaged Sam would say, ‘can I borrow your jacket? Oh, wait—it’s too small for me!’ ”

DeCandido is also the only author I’ve run across so far that is openly dialed into Livejournal and the fan bases for shows on the net. Websites are acknowledged in the book. I intend to buy all his Supernatural novels and take a look at the other movie and television tie-ins that he has already done.


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September 2010

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