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Book Review

Book Cover

The Unholy Cause


Author: Joe Schreiber
Titan Books
RRP: £6.99, US $7.99, Cdn $10.99
ISBN: 978 1 8485 6528 9
Available 23 April 2010

Having lost both their father and mother to demons Dean and Sam have become hunters, but things have turned a little biblical with the oncoming apocalypse. God is missing and Sam is destined to be the vessel for Lucifer. With things going from bad to worse the brothers hear about some strange events surrounding an American Civil War re-enactment and decide to investigate...

Supernatural: The Unholy Cause is a new tie-in novel from Joe Schreiber.

I did start to watch the show when it first aired but to be honest it just looked like sub Buffy fare, however if the changes to the show are really reflected in the new set of novels, it just might be worth checking out again.

Schreiber has produced what you would expect from a good genre novel, something which feels like an episode of the show, but with a greater depth to the story and visuals which would be too expensive for the show itself. The book suffers from the genre writer nightmare, you can imperil your lead characters but as they are defined by the program you can’t actually kill them, so the reader consciously knows that whatever happens the brothers will survive. Therefore it is the new and peripheral characters which tend to end up wearing the red shirt. This aspect of the book works well with secondary characters being given time for the reader to care about what happens to them before they bite the bullet.

To keep you guessing Schreiber utilises some very effective misdirection, so Sheriff Jacqueline Daniels sporting a magic mark on her wrist can either be an ally or part of the problem. This is only resolves towards the end of the book, where The Unholy Cause explodes in an effectively extended sequence of mayhem, death and destruction, which remains exciting, even if you know the boys really will survive.

One element that was weak was the whole of the back story about the coming war in Heaven and the part that the ex-angel Castiel played in the boys lives. It is only because I had previously reviewed Heart of the Dragon that I had a pretty good idea what was going on. This current book is more circumspect with its explanations so I’m not sure I could recommend it as a starter book for anyone who didn’t already follow the show.

That said, the book is well written and I did warm to Screiber's style, he draws his characters well, which is just as well as they form the emotional heart of the novel. I also like that the narrative was able to keep you guessing as to characters real motivations. So, a genre novel, but a good one.


Charles Packer

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