Supernatural: Coyote’s Kiss
Christa Faust

Titan Books
Paperback, 320 pages, $7.99
Review by Sheila M. Merritt

The Winchester Brothers, those intrepid heroes of the popular TV show Supernatural, find themselves in hot salsa in Supernatural: Coyote’s Kiss. Christa Faust sets the novel in the universe of Season 6. This is a new adventure for the beefcake boys; not based on any specific episode, although allusions are made to past occurrences. The plot fits nicely into the realm of the saga: Aztec gods are running amok creating destruction in their wake. Fortunately the guys are aided in their mission by a female counterpart; a fiery Latina who is a highly seasoned hunter of offensive occult creatures. Not surprisingly, she engages in an impassioned entanglement with one of the siblings; generating heaps of heat on a par with a host of habanero peppers. Author Faust expertly captures the essence of the program, maintaining its tone and snarky in-joke dialogue while amplifying the characterization. The expressive words of such a skilled writer allow an expansion of personality that extends beyond television’s truncated short-hand abbreviations. And given the series’ calculated cursory quality, it could be said that Faust’s narrative renders considerable depth to the material. Prior knowledge of the show’s denizens or plotlines is not a prerequisite for enjoying this entertaining yarn. The brothers are basically decorative action hero dudes but, in this treatment, that which seems merely skin deep gets fleshed out.

Consider Dean, quick to leer yet leery of relationships. Even finding a kindred spirit in the shapely form of Xochi, the aforementioned hot tamale, doesn’t facilitate intimate bonding: “They had developed an intense foxhole camaraderie almost immediately, and there were times when he felt so close to her, like they had so much in common. Then there were other times, like now, when he really felt the gulf of vast cultural differences that lay between them.”

In addition to vacillating in his feelings for Xochi, Dean is very concerned about brother Sam. Sam is currently soulless, and the prevailing emotional distancing facilitates his ability to combat their adversaries. The residual sangfroid, however, leaves Dean cold. Clinical and cynical are great attributes to possess when dealing with the demonic but, in terms of fraternal friendship, the qualities are off-putting. Getting little warmth from his brother, and simultaneously smoldering with passion towards Xochi, makes Dean flustered to the extreme. Dwelling on personal problems for any length of time doesn’t prove to be much of an option: There are malevolent entities that require eradication; pronto.

Able to shapeshift into various beasts, bugs, and human forms, the evil adversaries are most intimidating: “The army of hairy arachnid bodies puddled like tar and then in a stutter-flash, reformed into a kind of jittery, roadkill marionette, dripping with maggots. As quickly as her brain could register this new shape, the creature shifted again now more coyote-like but still possessing aspects of a tarantula. Shiny black mandibles instead of teeth and far too many bony legs. The only thing that was still human was that wild black hair.”

The author makes the trip south of the border deliciously dangerous, heightening the story with splendid atmosphere; as displayed in this description of a hotel lobby: “Framed swap-meet paintings cluttered the walls, a strange, incompatible mix of gory bullfighting scenes, cute little boys in oversized sombreros and images of the Virgin Mary.” Supernatural: Coyote’s Kiss is an enjoyable book; Christa Faust does an excellent job translating the feel and the personages of the CW network’s hit show into a novel. Her strong visual sense and knack for honing in on characters will appeal to viewers and readers alike.

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