Supernatural: Nevermore, by Keith R.A. DeCandido — a book review

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This was the first media tie-in novel based on the hit CW television show Supernatural. It was published way back in 2007 (even though I’m reading it just now, more than a decade later), and it was written by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

I am familiar with DeCandido because, like me, he is a severe genre nerd. Unlike me, he’s managed to turn it into a career, for which I will be eternally envious. He’s written media tie-in novels in the universes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Spider-Man, Doctor Who, and even CSI, as well as many other series I haven’t become a fan of yet. He’s also done a rewatch of Star Trek on the Tor.com website that I’m a devoted fan of. His bona fides are legit. He’s written novels based in his self-created universe as well, but this is the first of his books I’ve read.

His iTunes playlist for this novel is also a thing of beauty. Like Dean Winchester (and, apparently, KRAD himself), I’m a huge classic rock-and-roll fan. I’m proud to say that I have most of the songs on his playlist, and I am looking up Tito & Tarantula now.

I purchased the first three Supernatural novels early on, but decided to wait to read them until I had a few seasons under my belt. This novel—according to the “Historian’s Note” at the front—takes place between the second-season episodes “Crossroad Blues” and “Croatoan.” Classic rock-‘n’-roll and classic Supernatural. I was watching Seasons 5 and 6 while I read this, so I knew some things Dean and Sam Winchester didn’t know yet when I read this novel.

I’ve just started watching Season 7, so if you’re a diehard OG fan, you know things I don’t know yet as well. Please be gentle with me if you make comments. I’m trying to avoid spoilers.

This is a good story, well-told. Dean and Sam Winchester feel like the characters I’ve been watching on Netflix, mostly. The few off-notes I hear, as I’m reading, are probably the same ones I’d detect if I went back and watched the second season episodes again. The series went through several changes after the season this novel is set in. But, this story feels like one that would have fit in nicely in the second season.

In the world of this novel, Ellen and Jo Harvelle are still alive and running the roadhouse. And, of course, Ash is the technology savant with the Joe Dirt hairstyle who hangs out at Harvelle’s Roadhouse, the nexus for hunters that never fully panned out. Ash is important because he’s the one who brought the Winchester brothers into this particular story, providing the B-story, which is a haunted rock band in the Bronx.

The A-story is about murders that seem related to the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe had a connection to the Bronx that I wasn’t aware of until I read this novel. The first of the murders is committed by an orangatan, just like in “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the very first detective story. These murders, and the solving of this mystery, are interesting, but don’t seem to be of supernatural origin when all is said and done.

The B-story does involve an actual spirit, however. And presents another mystery, which is also solved by the end of the novel. This spirit, however, is more of a nuisance than a threat, and her bones are never salted and burned, which means she’s still hanging around after everything else is wrapped up.

I enjoyed reading Supernatural: Nevermore and think it is a good kickoff for a series tied to this particular fictional universe. If it were an actual episode in the series, I would call it an above-average installment.

Firewater’s First-Book-in-a-Series Report Card: B+

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