I’d like to start off by congratulating Titan Books and Alice Henderson on a much better effort for a Supernatural tie-in novel. I’ve only ever read one of these books before (‘One Year Gone’ and the less said about that the better), but the reviews of past books from other fans haven’t filled me with much confidence; however I was more than happy to give Fresh Meat a fair chance (especially as Titan sent me a FREE copy).
Fresh Meat follows Sam, Dean and Bobby as they investigate a rash of strange deaths in the Tahoe National Forest. The story is well-written and reads like a TV episode of the hit CW series. The handful of new characters that are introduced to help and aid our trio are believable and add something extra to the book.
The plot builds nicely and very much runs like an episode would; at first we think our trio, with the help of fellow hunter Jason, have killed the monster causing the deaths, but when more people go missing, Sam, Dean and Bobby return to town to find the real cause of the mysterious killings.
You don’t even need to be a fan of Supernatural to understand what is going on in Fresh Meat; previous story points and characters are explained, but not in a way that would be annoying to someone who already knows who Castiel is or why Bobby’s house burnt down.
I only have two complaints with this book; firstly, (on page 127) the writer talks about Sam’s hand scar, which comes from an injury sustained when falling on a piece of glass in the first episode of season seven (Meet The New Boss) however, the writer states: “The scar in his hand where Dean had stabbed him…” which is obviously wrong. Getting the facts of the characters/series wrong has been a common complaint in previous Supernatural tie-in novels, so it annoyed me to see this error in print when Alice and Titan have clearly gone out of their way to improve everything else about the tie-in novels.
My second issue is with everything that happens to Sam, Dean and Bobby in this novel. There’s a Wendigo, an Aswang and its eggs, a bar fire, vampires, snow storms, rangers who aren’t really rangers, a stalker, a couple of avalanches and a literal cliff-hanger – there was just too much action for this to be a believable episode of Supernatural. Just when you think nothing else can possibly go wrong for the fearless trio, something else happens. This adds to the length of the book but by chapter 45 (of 63), I was fed up. The action was a tad over the top – there was just too much happening, and on more than one occasion, I wondered how on earth Sam, Dean and Bobby were still alive.
I’d love to give this book four stars out of five, but the action overkill, plus the error on the origin of Sam’s hand scar mean I can only give it three stars out of five.
Have you read any of the other Supernatural tie-in novels? What did you think?