Supernatural: The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber (Book Review)

The Unholy Cause is book five in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the first of these books to be written by author Joe Schreiber. The monster-hunting duo return for yet another adventure in this unique tale, which takes place at an unknown point during season 5.

 

The Winchester brothers are led to Mission’s Ridge in Georgia, where some civil war re-enactments have become a bit too realistic. With two dead civilians and a pack of demons invading the town, can Sam and Dean figure out how replica weapons are killing people, before they end up arrested by the local Sheriff, Jack Daniels?

 

Favourite Quote:

“War is hell.” – Phil Oiler (p109)

 

At 2 out of 5 stars The Unholy Cause is ok, personally I’m not a huge fan of war re-enactment style novels, and since I’m not American the content doesn’t really appeal to me. However, it’s Sam and Dean Winchester on the hunt of the Supernatural, so I kept an open mind. The story did enough to keep me reading, and I kept waiting for something interesting or exciting to happen, such as a jump-scare scene or super-creepy monster, but sadly nothing of any real substance happened. In truth it was a little boring for me, especially compared with some of the other Supernatural books, and I can’t say I’m all that keen to re-read this one anytime soon.

Joe Schreiber doesn’t offer much in the way of backstory about the Winchester brothers, but since the only people likely to read these books are people who are fans of the TV show, this probably isn’t much of an issue. As far as characterisation is concerned Sam and Dean are portrayed very well, and the overall pace of the novel is quite swift, so I found this to be a relatively quick read. My final negative point is that we don’t know when exactly in the overall timeline this book is set, only that it takes place during season five, and this is a small, niggly detail that the perfectionist in me hates.

 

Anyone interested in war re-enactment style fantasy novels, can check out The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber here via this link to Amazon.co.uk.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon

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Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Book Review)

Heart of the Dragon is book four of the TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the third book to be written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. The monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, take on another action packed adventure in Heart of the Dragon, which takes place during season 5, between episodes 8 (Changing Channels) and 9 (The Real Ghostbusters).

 

In this Japanese themed story, the boys travel to San Francisco, where an enemy previously thought defeated by both John Winchester, 20 years earlier, and the Campbell family, 40 years ago, has once again returned.

At their Angel friend, Castiel’s insistence the boys drive to California to hunt a demon that has returned to wreak havoc during the Demon-Angel war, which for those familiar with the backstory was accidentally initiated by both Dean, and then later on by Sam’s selfish handiwork – check out season 4 for further details on that.

 

While I enjoyed learning more about Samuel, Deanna and Mary Campbell, as they took down a vampire nest and faced off against the Heart of the Dragon during its first incarnation. This novel is really one story, split into three separate parts, and due to the various different time periods, there are a significant number of secondary characters. As a result Sam and Dean don’t really have that big of a part to play in the overall narrative, and aren’t in the story as much as I would like.

At 2 out of 5 stars I found the Heart of the Dragon to be an enjoyable and interesting enough book, which manages to successfully tie together a very basic story, which is told over numerous different decades. It also provides fans of the show with additional details of the Winchester brother’s family history, which we haven’t previously been offered elsewhere. However, it has a surprising lack of Sam and Dean – as well as only an extremely brief cameo from Castiel – and as most fans will know, the brother’s fraught relationship is a large part of the TV series. Therefore, this book doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.

 

If anyone wishes to check out The Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido, they can do so via this link to the Amazon.co.uk product page.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

 

Supernatural: Bone Key (Book Review)

Bone Key is the third book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the second written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. Once again we join the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, on another action packed adventure. Bone Key takes place during season 3, between episodes 8 (A Very Supernatural Christmas) and 9 (Malleus Maleficarum).

 

In this spooky tale, the boys travel to Key West, Florida, where some famous ghosts are terrorising tourists and murdering people. Can Sam and Dean figure out what’s causing the spirits to become supercharged, and save the day?

 

First of all, with numerous references to prior events, Bone Key isn’t suitable for anyone new to Supernatural, and those unaware of recent plot points which play major roles in the first three seasons of the TV show. Spoilers may ruin the suspense if you intend to watch the show at a later time.

However, for everyone else, this book has a creepy doll reminiscent of Chucky (Child’s Play) or Annabelle (The Conjuring) which I always find very unsettling, As well as famous ghosts, such as Ernest Hemingway and Harry Truman.

With lots of different characters, I found it a little difficult to keep track of everyone, and as far as story goes I’m not sure that it’s quite as strong as Keith’s earlier book, Nevermore. Thankfully though, this time around he manages to get Dean’s eye colour correct, and the characterisations of both Sam and Dean appear much more accurate.

It has a few adult themes that were somewhat questionable, such as the guy who attempts to sleep with numerous women, and unknowingly takes photos of them, just to get back at his ex.

Anyhow, at 3 out of 5 stars I found this book to be enjoyable, but not necessarily a story that appealed to my particular tastes. It had a slowish pace and didn’t have quite as much action as some of the other Supernatural books. If anyone wishes to check it out you can pick yourself up a copy of Bone Key from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Haunted Cruise: The Shakedown by Tanya R. Taylor (Book Review)

In the midst of divorcing her husband of seven years, Dellie Hayworth sets off to work on a test cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. The ship, known as The Caesar, will be her home for the next 14 days.

 

Haunted Cruise is my first book by horror writer, Tanya R. Taylor and I found it to be one of the better short novels that I have read in quite some time. The story has a quick pace, yet doesn’t feel overly rushed. The narrative flows along easily, hooking the reader into the story with sharp and pertinent prose. It is very well-written and highly compelling, so much so that I couldn’t help but read this in one quick sitting.

It took quite a while before the horror elements made an appearance, and I began to wonder if I was mistaken in believing Haunted Cruise to be a horror story. However, occult spectres did eventually appear and were remarkably creepy, as you would expect. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’d class this story as a typical haunting, however there are ghosts. I felt that the ending may have been a bit rushed, but overall this is a good short horror novel, at a little less than 200 pages, perfect for anyone seeking a quick read.

At 4 out of 5 stars I highly recommend Haunted Cruise to anyone interested in the horror or occult genres, or those looking for a short introduction to Tanya R. Taylor’s extensive catalogue. I’m definitely now interested in checking out more stories by this writer, and anyone else thinking of doing so can purchase a copy of Haunted Cruise via Amazon.co.uk here.

 

Hopefully, sometime soon I’ll be checking out Tanya’s Cornelius series of books, so watch out for those reviews in the coming months.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (Book Review)

54 year old musician, Judas Coyne has a penchant for all things grotesque and when Danny, his personal assistant discovers a ‘ghost’ for sale on an online auction website, Jude just cannot resist the temptation to be the one to purchase it.

When the dead man’s suit arrives, carefully packaged in a black heart-shaped box, Jude has almost forgotten his spur of the moment purchase. However when an apparition of an old man appears to him that evening, Jude feels a little spooked.

He asks Danny to track down the female seller, so that he can make some enquiries about her late step-father only to make a startling discovery; Jessica Price is the older sister of one of Jude’s old fortune teller girlfriends, Anna May McDermott. When Jude broke off their relationship, Anna’s depressive emotional state intensified, resulting in the girl committing suicide. On his own death-bed, their hypnotist step-father, Craddock McDermott swore revenge against Jude for ruining his daughter’s life.

The ghost of Craddock is determined to haunt Jude and his current girlfriend, Georgia (AKA Marybeth), until Jude gives in to the old man’s demands and kills himself. Can Jude find a way to destroy the ghost, before it can destroy him?

 

Joe Hill is the son of Horror maestro Stephen King and Heart-Shaped Box is his first full novel. It is difficult not to compare father and son as you notice subtle similarities in their writing styles, and in a way typical to Stephen King, I feel that Joe fails to keep the reader interested in his story.

The plot of Heart-shaped Box seems interesting at first with the odd notion that ghosts can be bought and sold almost like property, but it soon begins to feel really dull and stretched out as the story slowly meanders along, with the creepy aspects being very few and far between.

At 2 out of 5 stars Heart-shaped Box has a good basic premise but doesn’t quite seem strong enough to warrant a large novel, being better maybe as a smaller, thinned down novella. Unfortunately, I soon lost interest and just willed this spooky tale to come to an end.

 

Anyone interested in learning more about Joe Hill and his first novel can pick up a copy of Heart-Shaped Box from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Horns – Joe Hill

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon (Book Review)

Witch’s Canyon is the second book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, featuring another brand new story from the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean. This book takes place directly after book one, Nevermore and during season 2, between episodes 8 (Crossroad Blues) and 9 (Croatoan), and is written by Jeff Mariotte.

 

After Sam and Dean conclude their business in New York City – see Nevermore for details – they travel to Cedar Wells, Arizona, where once every 40 years, a string of unexplained murders decimate the small American town.

 

Witch’s Canyon didn’t grip me in the same way that its predecessor did, and the story is a bit slow burn for my taste. It takes a little while for events to get interesting, or connect together and gives off a feeling of disjointedness in its concept. Each murder almost appears unique, differing in almost every aspect, which makes it difficult for both the reader and the Winchesters, to visualise and decipher the real source of the mayhem.

The narrative also spends far, far too much time repeating basic background facts about Sam and Dean; including information on John and Mary Winchester, Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, and their training as hunters. I understand the need to provide key details, especially those that will help unfamiliar readers learn more about the main characters. However, given that the majority of people who are likely to read this book are already fans of the TV series, repeating this information regularly after every few chapters seems to be completely unnecessary. Jeff also gets Dean’s eye colour wrong, which really irritated me.

All in all I think Witch’s Canyon would have been better off as a TV episode, rather than a novel. The overall story is ok, but nothing spectacular. At just 3 out of 5 stars, it’s only for the die-hard Supernatural fans, I think. Those interested however, can pick up a copy of Witch’s Canyon from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Bone Key

Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Book Review)

Nevermore is the first TV Tie-in novel from the CW series Supernatural, featuring a brand new story from the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean. This first book takes place during season 2, between episodes 8 (Crossroad Blues) and 9 (Croatoan), and is written by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

 

As a favour to their friend Ash, Sam and Dean take a break from hunting the demon that killed their Mom and Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, to travel to New York City for a haunting case. Meanwhile, Sam has also noticed some unusual deaths that he feels are worth checking out, being reminiscent of a couple of Edgar Allan Poe stories.

Dean finds himself in his version of heaven – surrounded by classic rock music and great tasting coffee – as the boys stay with rocker Manfred Afiri, guitarist and lead vocalist for a seventies covers band, who happens to have a spirit haunting his house. While Dean loses himself in Manfred’s vinyl collection, Sam visits the Poe Cottage and the locations of the unusual murders.

The boys soon find themselves teaming up with some unexpected allies as they try to prevent more murders from occurring, and purge Manfred’s house of a lovesick ghost. All while learning more about their father’s past.

 

Favourite Quote:

Their father had taken to using the phrase ‘a cup of caffeine,’ since what they usually had was so bad, Dad didn’t want to insult it by calling it ‘coffee.’  – (p61)

 

At 5 out of 5 stars Nevermore is a great addition to the Supernatural series for the hardcore fans already familiar with the Winchesters. With its accurate portrayal of the characters it was really easy to imagine Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from the TV show driving around in the Impala, and investigating these odd cases, which added to my overall enjoyment of the novel.

The book has a quick pace and didn’t get boring. Although there are two separate stories which don’t really intertwine, the book is very well written with smooth transitions between each narrative. Being a rocker myself, like Dean, I loved all of the references to the classic rock music, and the soundtrack list that the writer created as an addendum was also fun.

 

Anyone interested can pick up a copy of Nevermore from Amazon.co.uk here. This is the first book in a series of tie-in novels, all written by various different people, which leads directly into the second book; Witch’s Canyon by Jeff Mariotte.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon – Jeff Mariotte

Supernatural: Bone Key – Keith R.A. DeCandido