Title: Fresh Meat
Author: Alice Henderson
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Faced with a case that they believe to be attributed to a wendigo, Dean and Sam Winchester team up with Bobby and a new-to-us hunter to track down the creature in the Tahoe National Forest. What seems to be a straight-forward hunt turns into anything but when they are faced with zombies, organ theft, and a flying creature that has it in for the hunters. When a blizzard hits the area, they are forced to rely on their instincts to survive. Will the creature get them? Or will Mother Nature do the job beforehand? That was the set-up of the new Supernatural novel.
The storyline itself was set up between the episodes “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” and “Slash Fiction” so the boys had not yet met their doppelgangers nor battled the Leviathans to their deaths. Instead, they’re on a routine hunt, doing what they used to do — killing monsters and saving the civilians. With Bobby along for the ride, it felt like the old days. With a few plot twists thrown in, the story does keep you guessing as to what’s behind the killings and who’s going to make it out alive, or at least unscathed. I like when we get to see the what happened between the episodes, how the Winchesters spent their time when the viewing audience wasn’t around. They don’t just quit living or quit hunting. Sam and Dean have cases to solve and bad things to banish.
However, the book did have some issues in terms of accessibility and believability which caused me to be less willing to do a re-read in the near future. First, there was the case of over-explanation. When you pick up a Supernatural novel, it’s a safe bet that you’re a fan of the show. Going by that, you know who Sam, Dean, and Bobby are. You are also probably up on the history of wendigos, since we had an entire episode devoted to them. There’s no need to waste words on explaining all of this again. I like it better when tie-in novels assumes the audience is knowledgeable enough with the back-story and go from there. If something doesn’t make sense or we’ve forgotten a reference, we’re going to go look it up. Secondly, it felt like the author was just throwing every complication possible at the hunters to increase the tension. We started off with a wendigo, then it was zombies and missing organs. That in and of itself would have been a case, but then we find out what was behind the zombie/organ incidents and it was a new-to-us creature called an aswang. We finished off with a sprinkling of vampires and a blizzard to put the group in even more danger. At some point it’s got to be too much and I think I crossed that line half-way through the book. It was a nice jaunt into the lives of Sam and Dean Winchester, but their bad days felt just a little bit too unbelievable in this instance. However, as always, I’ll look forward to the next book because I can’t get enough of those Winchester boys.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars