"Supernatural: Coyote's Kiss" Book Review
Written by Christa Faust
2011, 348 pages, Fiction
Released on July 12th, 2011
Back in the day, if I really loved a movie or TV show, I would buy any available novelization of it. Mostly it was film novels I picked up (as, many times, they were books first), but I did read my fair share of books based on a TV series. The last I probably read was Ground Zero, an original X-Files novel written by Kevin Anderson, and I haven't read an original book based on a TV series since. I can't say with 100% certainty exactly why I stopped reading this particular genre, but I do know a big reason is, well, most of it kind of sucks. Let's face it, the majority of these books are written for a fast buck first, for the fans second and there are thousands of other books I'd rather read than waste my time on than a money grab.
So naturally I was a bit hesitant when Supernatural: Coyote's Kiss arrived for review. However, that worry quickly turned to eagerness when I saw it was written by Christa Faust. Admittedly, up to that point, I had only read one other book by Faust, Money Shot, which I had really enjoyed. Part of the Hard Case Crime series, Money Shot truly impressed me because not only was just a solid book from beginning to end, but also because Christa Faust is a female and she wrote probably one of my favorite books (that I've read) in the Hard Case Crime catalog. Now before you accuse of me of being misogynistic, I read a lot of thrillers and many, many times, with female authors, they write what they think men think. And they write how they want men to act. This doesn't work in a hard boiled setting, where men are men and women are vixens. Faust, however, knows how a man thinks and acts and her writing shows it. If there is a school for pulp fiction, she graduated from it summa cum laude and now teaches there full time. She's that good.
My love for Faust's ability for snappy dialog, brisk pacing and non-stop action in Money Shot carries over seamlessly in Supernatural: Coyote's Kiss. Based on the hit TV show Supernatural, Coyote's Kiss takes place during season six between the episodes Caged Heat and Appointment in Samara. The book finds Sam and Dean investigating gruesome deaths on the Arizona / Mexico border. A strange beast eviscerated some illegals and the border patrol stopping them. As is the case most of the time with the Winchester brothers, the beast isn't a simple demon they can lob some salt on, and they end up in another situation where the fate of the world depends on them. Admittedly, that's a rather brief synopsis of the book, but that's really the short of it. It can't introduce much mythos to the Supernatural universe, as the show will likely not mention what happens in Coyote's Kiss unless it's only in passing.
Faust is obviously a fan of Supernatural, as she not only incorporates the idiosyncrasies of Sam and Dean — such as their particular eating habits and Dean's fondness for '80s rock — she also brings up past characters and prior cases into conversation. These mentions are never forced, either. They are incorporated into the story in such a way that it never feels like Faust is saying, "See! I do watch the show." In addition, the dialog in the book, Dean's in particular, nails that of the TV show, which is important as this is a book that pretty much only fans of Supernatural will buy. At one point, Dean is taken to a witch, Toci, to help heal his soul. The cut of a mythical blade more than just injured his body. Faust describes his predicament as such:
Toci unlaced his boots and took them off, then removed his jeans completely. Laying there on the bed dressed in nothing but crumpled white socks, he was really quite glad Sam and Xochi had left the room. Dean had never quite imagined his life might end like this. Naked in a Tijuana brothel with an eighty-year-old woman dressed like Janine from Spinal Tap sizing up his junk and looking distinctly unimpressed. He really wished the room wasn't so heavily air-conditioned.
Who hasn't had a night like that?
Faust also wisely writes Coyote's Kiss in that you don't necessarily have to be a rabid fan of the show to enjoy it. Granted, I've seen every episode up to season six (I tend to buy whole seasons, rather than watch them as they air), and I had no problem keeping up with what's going on. Note, though, if you are a fan of the show and have not seen season six, you may want to catch up before reading this, as a major spoiler is given away at the beginning of the book. I in no way can blame Faust for this, though, as it's a critical part of Sam's character and there is absolutely no way to avoid it.
Hands down, the best part of this book is that neither Sam nor Dean cry like bitchbabies at any point. I love the show, but, man, that's one part I hate about it. Seems like every episode, Sam is tearing up over something. Not in Coyote's Kiss, though. Sure, Sam has a particular... affliction... that crying is not an option right now, but the book gets a full star just for lack of crybabyness.
Supernatural: Coyote's Kiss is a fantastic addition to the Supernatural universe. It rarely stops moving and, when it does, the witty dialog easily carries you to the next action-filled battle. Faust is officially two for two with me, and I eagerly look forward to her forthcoming Choke Hold, the sequel to Money Shot. In the meantime, I plan on picking up her adaption of Snakes on a Plane. Should be good times.