Heat Wave by Richard Castle? Wait, isn't Richard Castle a TV character? Why yes, yes he is. Richard Castle is a character on the ABC show Castle and he is a mystery writer who uses his considerable celebrity to finagle an extended ride along with New York City homicide detective, Kate Beckett, as research for his new series of books. Castle's presence in Beckett's life causes no shortage of problems as he involves himself in her investigations. Ultimately, Castle proves himself to be a valuable member of the investigative team.
Again you may ask, is this a book review or a review of a TV show? I'm getting there, hold on.
Heat Wave is a real book and is the first in a series written under the pen name Richard Castle. The actual author is a mystery and there is speculation that these books are written by one of the the writers on the TV show. Regardless of who the author is, Heat Wave is an entertaining police procedural that can be read without having watched a single episode of the TV show. In Heat Wave, New York City homicide detective Nikki Heat is being shadowed by a magazine writer whose presence in Nikki's life causes no shortage of problems as he involves himself in her investigations. Do you sense a theme here?
Nikki Heat and her team arrive at the scene of what looks like the suicide of a wealthy New York City developer by the name of Michael Starr. Soon it becomes apparent that this wasn't suicide, it was murder. To make things more complicated, Nikki has to deal with magazine writer Jameson Rook who is shadowing her at the insistence of the police commissioner. Rook is not one to stand on the sidelines and observe, he is often irritating and tends to forget that he is not a cop. However, his connections with the wealthy and elite of New York as well as his connections with the criminal element end up helping Nikki wade through the evidence and solve the crime. Along the way there is plenty of action including dangerous and life threatening situations.
Even though the Nikki Heat novels need not be read in conjunction with the show, as a fan of Castle I feel like I can relate to some of the past episodes better now that I've read Heat Wave. The relationships between the characters in the book closely mirrors the relationships between the characters on the show. I now understand why, when Kate Beckett's coworkers read Heat Wave (when it was released on the show), they questioned the personal relationship between Beckett and Castle.
When all is said and done, I did enjoy Heat Wave. It wasn't a gritty, edge of your seat thriller but it was an entertaining solid police procedural. Nikki Heat is a strong female character that manages to be tough without being masculine. She is respected because she a good and dedicated cop. Did I like the book more because I am a fan of the show? Possibly, but again there is no need to watch the show to enjoy the book.
Whoever the author "Richard Castle" is, tell him I'll be picking up book number two in the series, Naked Heat and I will also be reading the third one Heat Rises when it comes out on September 20th. Hmmm.....interesting that the third book in the series will be published the day after the 4th season premier of the show on ABC. Coincidence or marketing genius, you be the judge. When you look at the lengths to which ABC has gone to make Richard Castle seem like a real author is it any wonder people get confused? Just check out his website and you will see what I mean.
~Amy, Adult Services