Thursday, October 6, 2011

Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Book Details
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Paperback, 368 Pages
2011, Hyperion
ISBN: 0786891416
Series: Book 1 of Nikki Heat

A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly best-selling Derrick Storm novels, introduces his newest character, NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads. She's hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York's Finest. Pulitzer Prize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren't her only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

I'm a big fan of the TV show Castle and had been dying to read the Nikki Heat books supposedly written by Nathan Fillion's character. In Heat Wave, I found great writing, wonderful character chemistry and an unbeatable mystery. I also found my mind making constant connections to the show, which was both distracting and confusing at times.

It's hard not to compare Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook to Kate Beckett and Richard Castle from the show. The book is written under the premise that Castle is the author and Beckett is his muse. All signs point to Castle writing a very biographic character in Jameson Rook - from the last name to his quippy humor to the fact he's a writer (articles instead of novels) working with the police. Nikki is written like Castle's fantasy Beckett, she's just like Kate but willing to give into her attraction to the writer in her life. Having watched the TV show for years, the line often becomes blurred between the two.

With a little reader effort, one can actively disassociate the show and the book allowing for a great reading experience. This would be a wonderful mystery even if it had no pop culture connection. It's reasonably fast paced and definitely keeps you guessing. Readers who don't watch the show may enjoy Heat Wave even more than fans, as they'll be able to fully immerse themselves into the plot and characters without preconceived ideas of how things are supposed to go.


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