Supernatural: Night Terror (Book)
Published by Titan Books
The "Supernatural" book tie-ins have been a mixed bag. Thankfully, they appear to be getting better.
Night Terror is an insane book. Most TV tie-in books are like an episode of that series, but a bit bigger or featuring elements not possible to show on the small screen with small screen budgets. The "Supernatural" novels have been like that for the most part. Big set pieces that can't be filmed on a TV budget, detailed plots that would take too long for an hour-long drama, that kind of thing. Supernatural: Night Terror is similar, but what it has that can't be shown on television is the massive hit of acid this story drops right at the beginning. A one-word review: batshit.
The Winchester boys wind up in Clayton Falls, Colorado, after some bizarre shenanigans. Yeah, standard "Supernatural" setup, no shocker there. A car without a driver runs over a teenager after a headless horseman chases him into traffic. A giant gila monster chases a bum into a dumpster before vanishing into thin air. That kind of thing.
That's just the beginning, and by the time Sam and Dean show up in the form of FBI Agents DeYoung and Shaw, things go way, way, way far out, even for a show with everything from killer dolls to homicidal angels.
Before long the boys are gunning down Nazi zombies on main street, examining man-sludge left behind by spiders the size of Buicks, dodging tornadoes, and investigating murderous trees. Each night is an acid trip from hell as things appear and cause carnage before blinking out of existence just as fast. The boys have little time to find out what's causing the nightmares of the citizens of Clayton Falls to come to life before the whole town is killed.
Passarella bars no holds when it comes to creating the threats of the nightmares in Clayton Falls. One crazy manifestation after another drops into town and starts killing people right and left. It makes for a heck of a ride and like nothing they could ever do on the show itself. Between the scope of the nightmares and the body count, the budget and censors would be in a race to see who says "no mas" first.
The book's not perfect. The show regularly stretches believability when it comes to the acceptance of the boys' cover stories, and this one just stretches it a bit far. They even get away with the usual rock-inspired fake names after someone comments it sounds like a Styx reunion. Despite the sheriff eventually calling in the state police and violence escalating to Biblical proportions, no one ever thinks to ask agents DeYoung and Shaw if maybe they may want to call for backup or enlist federal aid.
The boys also seem a bit slow on the uptake. We sort out within the first ten pages that nightmares are coming true; it takes the fellas nearly half the book to finally pick up on that.
That said, those are small complaints. Even if you don't have much experience with the Winchester brothers (for SHAME), this is a rollicking book chock-full of horror tropes. With no reasonable limits on what shows up, Passarella throws the kitchen sink at the boys and Clayton Falls. Unlike a lot of tie-in novels, this one could easily stand on its own.
4 out of 5