Friday, June 4, 2010

Jenn's Review: Heat Wave

Summary: 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. PulitzerPrize-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.

Review: This book is a transmedia part of the show Castle on ABC and I really can't discuss one without discussing the other. The premise of the show is that Richard Castle, a famous mystery novelist, follows around Detective Kate Beckett of NYPD homicide as research for a new series he's writing after having helped her solve a copy-cat murder based on one of his novels. The book is the first installment of Castle's new series with the lead character, Nikki Heat, based on Beckett.

Obviously, I like the show or I wouldn't have picked up the book. The dialogue is quick and witty and the characters are likable ~ in that way, it's almost like a Bones-lite. Also, as with Bones, I like the fact that the viewer doesn't figure out the whodunit ahead of time (I usually pick them out within the first 5 minutes of Mentalist, but not so here). I love the cameos by actual authors too such as Stephen J. Cannell, James Patterson ("Only one book a year, Rick?!?"), and Michael Connelly who all play poker with Richard Castle. Actually in the beginning of Season 1 they used to do this really awesome cinematography of the crime scenes to start each show and I kind of miss that... but I digress.

The book is supposed to be Castle's novel based on his exploits with Beckett and the NYPD homicide division, so it is loosely references several episodes of Castle. In that way, it was a lot like reading an episode of the show with the luxury afforded of being able to go into greater detail. It was a little strange at times because the reader is immersed in a fictional character's work of fiction. I could really 'hear' Castle's voice as the author... which is Nathan Fillion, but not because it's actually that the writer's of the show. So you can see how it could be a little mindboggling to me at times due the fact that it was a story in a story in a story, so to speak, not to mention the dejavu moments ('Oh, I remember this scene!') from different episodes of the show. Although, that means the show writers have voiced a solid character and that the continuity between book and show is flawless.

I thought it was a great addition to the Castle franchise and a winning idea from ABC (believe me, you don't hear me say -or read me type, in this case- that very often). It's a nice tie in and aussuaged the post-television-season blues. The second installment, Naked Heat, is due out in September and I've added it to my wishlist. Would you enjoy it if you haven't seen the show? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I don't know how much I would appreciate the voice of Castle-the-author if I didn't know the character. Then again, it's not quite 200 pages and a great plot with lots of twists and turns. It might just be a perfect summer read.

Final Take: 4.0/5



Hilde June 7, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

I love Castle, and this book is pretty high on my wishlist. Thanks for the review! :)

Becky W. June 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM  

I read this book a while back too! I LOVE LOVE the show and look forward to Monday nights, so it's no wonder I liked the book. I like the quick wit of Castle/Fillion, and also added Naked Heat to my list!

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