Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat? You might have dreamt that you were falling or running from a giant spider. Well what if that tarantula became real, emulsified you and sucked your remnants like a Slurpee?
Nightmares are things that you wake up from. They don’t usually end your life or manifest to kill others, but that’s exactly what happens to a small town where the Winchester brothers have to put down a nightmarish menace.
Set during season six, after Sam’s soul is restored, but before the mental barriers that blocked out the year of his ruthless hunting crumble apart, the novel “Night Terror” is a solid horror read that will have you holding your breath. As Sam and Dean battle Nazi zombies, disembodied trees and a killer car with no driver, they must also deal with their own nightmares. Sam is still dealing with not remembering a year of his life, where he did the most heinous things imaginable to get the job done. His dreams of “soulless Sam” taking over haunt him continuously. The same goes for Dean as he had to abandon a seemingly idyllic life to return to hunting with his brother. What the Winchesters don’t realize is their nightmares aren’t showing their failures, but their strengths.
Every time Sam encounters his cutthroat counterpart, he faces the worst of himself and comes out knowing what he doesn’t want to be. Yes, there are doubts, but the Sam before “Night Terror” could never pull off getting information from someone without suspicion. In their line of work where they flash fake badges, you’ve got to be convincing. And robo-hunter killer just can’t get the job done; whereas Sam’s empathy in the novel gives him the edge. He’s trustworthy and when you’re explaining how a tree intentionally hurts people, you need to have credibility.
Then there’s Dean and his near obsession with keeping people safe. It is his reoccurring nightmare of failing the people he cares for the most, even if he becomes acquainted with them for a minute period of time. Sometimes knowing what frightens you the most won’t be able to be used against you.
That said “Night Terror” has all the wit, old rock references and angst that the television series has. What makes this a good read is that you don’t need to see the series. As you go from hysterical laughter to bone-chilling moments there is a sense of satisfaction from reading a good old-fashioned thriller. You’ll spend your time trying to figure out what’s behind a town’s biggest fears coming to life.
Whether or not Clayton Falls will be saved is irrelevant in the Supernatural universe. There will always be collateral damage. Children will be traumatized, lives will be lost and the people that the Winchesters encounter will never be the same.
John Passarella’s “Supernatural: Night Terror” falls into the tradition of the series nicely, where an urban myth takes a horrific turn. One thing is for sure, you’ll never see your dreams the same way again.