Monday, September 12, 2011

Jenn's Review: Naked Heat

Naked Heat (Nikki Heat)Summary:  Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook are together again in Richard Castle's thrilling follow-up to his New York Times bestseller, Heat Wave.

When New York's most vicious gossip columnist, Cassidy Towne, is found dead, Heat uncovers a gallery of high profile suspects, all with compelling motives for killing the most feared muckraker in Manhattan.

Heat's murder investigation is complicated by her surprise reunion with superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook. In the wake of their recent breakup, Nikki would rather not deal with their raw emotional baggage. But the handsome, wise-cracking Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's personal involvement in the case forces her to team up with Rook anyway. The residue of their unresolved romantic conflict and crackling sexual tension fills the air as Heat and Rook embark on a search for a killer among celebrities and mobsters, singers and hookers, pro athletes and shamed politicians.

This new, explosive case brings on the heat in the glittery world of secrets, cover-ups, and scandals.

Review:  This transmedia book is the second of the series from the Castle franchise on ABC.  While I'm not sure how much you would appreciate this if you aren't a fan of the show, it's a must for a die-hard Castle addicts such as myself.  This book came out last fall and I saved it for this summer when I knew the Castle hiatus would be killing me.  I love that it gives me a little piece of Castle for my very own.

As with Heat Wave, this is a culmination of Castle's time shadowing Beckett.  So it makes perfect sense that  the writers use some of the cases we have seen on the screen, but jumbling them up and mixing the stories together with an entirely new plot.  More to the point, they are very meticulous about keeping everything in Castle's voice.  You can really hear his character as the author.  It supplements the show with a depth of perspective on the character of Richard Castle. It's also amusing to see the characters made into characters.  However, although "Castle" includes a caricature of his mother in the book, he does not give his Jameson Rook a daughter. I think that says a lot about the man, and the protective father, Richard Castle is...

Everything has been getting more complex on the show, providing more to draw from and making for a more intricate novel with more plot twists.  Even the relationship between Lanie and Esposito makes it into Castle's book.  The story is attention grabbing so I stopped thinking about the story-within-a-story-within-a-story thing and just enjoyed it as it was meant to be. Heat is through with Rook, having kicked him out of her life professionally and personally after his article on the department turned into a feature on her. But her freeze out comes to an end when Rook's newest journalistic subject is murdered and his insight is needed once again.  It was a good case, and though I caught one of the clues planted early in the book, I didn't know the who and the why of it until it was revealed in the story.

The other nice thing about the novel is that it gives Castle-Beckett 'shippers' something to hold onto.  The romance between Rook and Heat is a virtual love letter to Beckett (and still she isn't ready to let him in...).  I also think it demonstrates that an on screen relationship could work with tension and interest still being maintained.

Heat Rises, the third book, is due out September 20, 2011 (along with the Season 3 DVDs) and it's definitely on my TBR wishlist, especially after the escalated, game-changing third season that the show had.  It will be fascinating to see what changes in "Castle's" writing and what gets pulled into the story.  I may not be able to hold out for a summer read again, though.  I'll probably read it when the show goes into winter hiatus.  The pull is that strong.

Final Take:  4.25/5



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