By Lauren Levite
Every September the Winchester brothers and their motley crew of angels, demons, paranormal creatures, and the occasional clown bust onto our TV with adventures as close to home as family drama and as far flung as alien abductions. After thirteen seasons, one thing is clear: the worst part of Supernatural is the long summer hiatus. As you once again watch the fandom spin into madness over the inevitable cliffhanger and wonder why the showrunners do this to you every year, remember: books exist.
So, don your best Sam Winchester thinking cap (or your Metatron cap, if that’s how you feel) and pick up one of these handy dandy novels to keep you sane during this long, long drought:
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Supernatural got its start with ghost stories, and so did New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake; Anna Dressed in Blood is reminiscent of the best of early Supernatural. It follows Cas (!!!), a ghost hunter, as he navigates a world without his father, who was brutally murdered by ghosts. Along with his mother (who is a witch) and cat (who can smell spirits), they track down local lore and unfriendly spirits, Winchester-style. Eventually, Cas comes across a case that doesn’t follow the straightforward formula of track, hunt, kill: a ghost, dressed in the bloody gown she was murdered in, whose thirst for revenge might be a match for Cas’ skill, has been haunting a Victorian house for decades. Not only are you getting a fantastic ghost story here, but you’re also getting a lot of feelings, so bring tissues to this read.
The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett
Nothing screams Supernatural quite like Satanism! Take The Last Harvest for instance: Clay Tate finds his father among blood and viscera on the barn floor of a cattle ranch, whispering “I plead the blood” before he dies as part of the Midland, Oakland slaughter. A year later, Clay has retreated into a quiet life among his shattered family, but his troubles are only starting when reality blends into stark and horrifying visions. Is he going insane like his father, or is Clay close to discovering a cult in his small hometown? Liggett writes a scary novel befit for fans of the most gruesome episodes of Supernatural. Lucifer would give this a 10/10.
When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter
A hard-earned reputation Supernatural has garnered over the years is that death isn’t permanent (I mean, Death is permanent, he’s actually quite a cool character, but I mean ~death~ as in the noun, not the Horseman). Winchester brotherly love knows no bounds, and neither do some of the siblings in When I Cast Your Shadow. Meet Dashiell: the suave, popular and dashing older brother that everyone loves. Now, meet Everett: The younger, intelligent brother who has always been just a tad jealous. Sound familiar? When Dash passes away and is resurrected from the grave by his sister Ruby, you can imagine there are some disastrous consequences. No one ever said family was easy.
Pacifica by Kristen Simmons
While Supernatural is really missing out on the world of pirates (those of the vampire variety don’t count) there has always been a fair share of post-apocalyptic themes in the show. If you’re still thinking about how totally awesome that episode where Zachariah sends Dean into the future is (5×04 “The End”), Pacifica is for you. This book has everything: clearly evil characters, a wasteland future, finicky heroes, and the best, most heartwarming bromance you’ll ever read.
The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics
Right. Well. If there’s one episode of Supernatural that has scarred an entire generation with its oh-my-god-why plot, it would be “Family Remains” in season four. The Winchester brothers investigate what they think is a ghost, but actually turns out to be a pair of twins who have been living within the walls of a house for years. The lasting dismay in this episode isn’t due to any kind of paranormal activity like so much of the show, but rather the horror of human folly and its weird, repulsive consequences. The Women in the Walls is similar, but with more psychological twists and a lot of grief. When you read it, maybe keep the lights on?