Joyride is book sixteen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the fourth to have been written by John Passarella. It takes place during season twelve between episodes 19 (The Future) and 20 (Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes).
…major spoiler warning for this review, as well as for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…
Book sixteen has the Winchesters take a much-needed break from their work with their stuffy sidekicks, the British Men of Letters, to go off on their own case to Moyer, Missouri. One night, at midnight, everyone in town abruptly loses consciousness, all at the same moment. Shortly afterwards the town goes nuts, with people finding themselves behaving oddly, only to have no memory of the incident once it passes.
The book remains true to the characteristics of Sam and Dean Winchester, from Dean’s love of burgers and pie, to his obsession with his car etc. So you actually feel like this is a genuine story that could be shown as an episode on TV. Although there is a minor inconsistency when it comes to the British Men of Letters. Sam and Dean discuss their dealings with Mick, as if he’s still their regular contact with the agency, which at this point in the series isn’t entirely correct.
The plot itself constantly jumps from one minor character to another, as they find themselves in ridiculous circumstances. We’re introduced to hundreds of characters, only to have them die shortly afterwards, or to never be discussed again. This is a regular issue with tie-in books such as this, and I’ve come to realise that to a certain extent it’s inevitable. We need a myriad of characters in order to understand the seriousness of the story, or provide a trail for the Winchesters to follow in their investigation. However, there’s a fine line between giving Sam and Dean enough screen time, and having it feel like they’re just making cameo appearances among the supporting cast, without doing much to progress the story or solve the mystery. Thankfully, Joyride manages to keep enough of Sam and Dean’s investigative elements intact, to provide some respite from the constant surge of crazy characters to keep the narrative moving forward.
I was a bit hesitant at first but quite enjoyed this monster-of-week story, it was a nice mix of creepy but odd, with plenty of base elements familiar to fans. So I’d rate Joyride at 4 out of 5 stars. John Passarella seems to be a strong writer within the Supernatural fandom, with some fun ideas.