In Witch’s Canyon by Jeff Mariotte, the brothers Sam and Dean Winchester are investigating a series of mysterious murders happening every 40 years in the Grand Canyon region. With the fortieth anniversary of the last killing spree fast approaching, and coinciding with the opening of a new super mall, the two have their hands full to try to stop who- or whatever is responsible before all ends in a bloodbath.

In comparison to Keith R.A. DeCandido’s two Supernatural outings, Nevermore and especially Bone Key, this book is a bit of a disappointment. It’s not bad by any means, but much about it feels very generic and doesn’t really convey the Supernatural feeling. This begins with the characterisation of the brothers: while you can recognise them with a little effort, ultimately Mariotte was never really able to bring the chemistry between the two onto the page. The original characters are kind of a two-sided sword; on the one hand all of them fulfil their roles in the novel rather well, but on the other hand you don’t really get a feeling for them beyond that, so that many of them remain a bit one-dimensional.

The story is okay, but not really surprising at any point. One of the bigger problems for me was that the novel is a bit too long for the story it tries to tell. It isn’t boring, but tends to drag a bit occasionally in my opinion. Some of the elements of the plot are really interesting, but in the end the formulaic storytelling tends to drown out those moments.

Due to the fact that Mariotte didn’t really was able to capture the Supernatural feeling, the novel sometimes feels more like an episode of one of those anthology-like mystery shows like Outer Limits than part of the Supernatural line, but despite the fact that I mostly focussed on the negative parts here, overall the novel isn’t that bad, just somewhat too routine and unsurprising to be much more than a time-killer.

Rating: 62%


Witch’s Canyon (by Jeff Mariotte) was released by Titan in October 2007.