We’ve all got our own guilty indulgences. Be it that certain bar of chocolate, that possibly expensive bottle of wine, maybe even a favourite cigar – Monte Cristo No. 2 anyone? TV-wise, for me it’s the show Supernatural. I am something of a regular viewer. My wife humorously tolerates my fan-boy attitude to what I consider one of the coolest shows on the small-screen and watches bemused as I sing the virtues of the show, and cheer on as Sam and Dean kick-ass on some demons, ghosts and other things-that-go-bump-in-the-night.
You see, I think Supernatural is awesome. It’s like the only horror-action TV of any worth that’s been on TV for a few years. On the serious-horror front it’s a step-up from Buffy, with some epic story arcs and kick-ass hi-jinks. Alongside high-end production values it’s also got its tongue-in-cheek moments and, as with Whedon’s show, it has a production team who seem to care deeply about it. There’s often also a thumping rock and roll accompaniment to the goings on. Win-win, right?
Now – it’s been a while since I’ve read any TV-show tie-in novels. In fact, the last such book that I read was a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine book, Fallen Heroes, over 15 years ago. Being something of a Deep Space Nine aficionado back then, it was logical to check out such work, and I wasn’t disappointed. There were others however that were quite forgettable, and the intermittent quality put me off further investigation.
So, it was with a keen sense of curiosity that I checked out Coyote’s Kiss, written by Christa Faust. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect to be honest, as these things can go reasonably well, or terribly wrong as I remember from other such books I’d read in the past.
I wasn’t to be let down however. From the start Faust does a good job of setting the scene and introducing you to the characters in orderly, and where appropriately quirky and humorous manner. Whilst the book definitely retains the Supernatural TV show vibe, it also has enough of its own character to allow it to stand independently from its greater source material, and the author has poured something unique into this mould.
Coyote’s Kiss‘ plot deals with a lethal supernatural (what else) creature that’s gone on the loose having slaughtered a truckload of immigrants being smuggled across the border from Mexico into the U.S. Sam and Dean, in appropriate fashion, are quick on the scene to figure what’s going on – and sooner than they expect the situation begins to escalate. By that I mean, of course, that the body count starts to increase quite dramatically. And with some severity and not inappropriately-generous servings of viscera.
You really are dropped and immersed into this one. Whether it’s the side-characters we see for just seconds, a desert vista painted upon canvas for our viewing pleasure, small (and big) town Mexico and U.S., or reflections on characters with which we may, as Supernatural¬† fans, already be familiar with; everything is given due care and attention.
The beast in question is of ancient Aztec origination and has a propensity for grand carnage, with a bit of heavy-duty scenery editing thrown in for good measure. ¬†What at first seems like a straight-forward rogue-creature-feature for the boys to investigate turns out to have more ominous origins than anyone might have imagined. A law-enforcement official happy to nudge them in the right direction leads to an encounter with a mysterious woman, Xochi Cazadora, who turns out to be a hunter and more than a match for the pair and the quest they find themselves caught up following.
Fans of the show should note that this book takes place between the TV episodes ‘Caged Heat’ and ‘Appointment in Samara’. This is of importance for reasons of synchronicity with issues arising for the Winchester Brothers in the TV show, but it’s nothing that will ruin this book to any extent or make it less readable by someone who’s not a regular viewer. This placement of Coyote’s Kiss in the timeline actually goes some way to make things more interesting, and less constrained to the usual ‘churn-it-out’ style of fiction oft found in TV adaptation books.
In Xochi the author has created an interesting character, and one who really wouldn’t be out of place, or reject by viewers I am sure, in the TV show itself. I definitely found her fiery nature, fierce techniques and go get ‘em attitude a match for those missed since the demise of Ellen and Jo in Season Five’s episode ‘Abandon All Hope’. I really miss those guys, so it’s nice to have a female hunter brought into the picture again, however outside of the core-show she may be. Xochi interacted with the boys well too, keeping both on their toes and more than contributing her equal share to the state of play.
In keeping with the traditions of its source Faust has kept Coyote’s Kiss fast paced, and ensured that it pulls few punches. There’s decent development and tribute paid to the characters that fans of the show will appreciate, and brand readers new to the franchise won’t be left out either.
This one’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a Supernatural fan and I’d happily recommend to anyone wanting a decent horror-action read, and belated introduction to Supernatural.