Book Review: Heat Wave by Richard CastlePosted: July 27, 2013
One of my favourite TV shows at the moment is Castle, in which the awesome Nathan Fillion plays Richard Castle, a novelist who shadows an NYPD detective, Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) for inspiration for his next novel and character, Nikki Heat, a tough, sexy detective.
As they crack cases they also have a will-they-won’t-they romance on the go, and it’s a really funny, enjoyable show.
This is the book that the character is supposed to have written, released as a tie-in and done entirely in character, right down to the dedication and acknowledgement (which includes a thanks to the cast and producers by their first names). It’s definitely a book geared to the fans of the show, with several of the characters being extremely close to those on the show, and little nods to the events of the show. This makes it an in-joke filled treat for existing fans, but how will it play to the uninitiated.
The plot unfolds as New York is gripped by a heat wave, and Detective Heat is called to a crime scene where a millionaire real estate owner has fallen to his death. With it confirmed as a murder Heat delves into the dead man’s private life, discovering a tangled mix of lies, debt and ego. There are plenty of suspects, and Heat has to work out who wanted the man dead, and why.
Heat also has to deal with a cocky, immature but charming reporter, Jameson Rook. Rook gets in the way and under Heat’s skin and despite herself she finds herself attracted to him.
Can she ignore this distraction and the heat and catch the killer? Things become more complicated when the victim’s expensive art collection is stolen, and a Russian goon enters the picture and takes a shine to Nikki.
It’s hard to say if I’d have enjoyed this book as much as I did if I didn’t love the show so much, because one of it’s major appeals are the references to the show and realizing how closely it mirrors the characters from the show. Rook is a shallower, smoother version of Castle (although it’s only writing this post that I got the connection between the two characters’ surnames) and other major players crop up throughout.
So, I came in biased and with more of a connection to the book, but I do think that newcomers should enjoy it too. It’s written in a very fun, pulpy fashion and is a gripping, entertaining airport novel. The plot is well done and unfolds easily, making the book a definite page turner, the kind of thing you could blaze through as you sat poolside or read in little chunks on your commute.
There are some nice developments and little twists along the way, and “Castle” writes with verve and a simple, but engaging style. There’s also quite a nice streak of humour running throughout the novel, and it made me smile and chuckle numerous times.
It’s not going to change your life, and it’s very much a genre piece, but it’s still a hugely entertaining quick read and worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the show. I thoroughly enjoyed and might check out the rest of the series.
Verdict: Fans of the television show will get more from it, but it’s a decent and well crafted thriller which should be enough to engage the uninitiated. Simple, fun and a real page turner. 7/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.