Pros: Enjoyable on multiple levels
Cons: You need to be a fan of the show to get any real depth out of it
Rating: 4 out of 5
With all the review books I have on my To Be Read stack, I hadn’t expected to get around to picking up “Richard Castle’s” Heat Wave. Then I found myself hanging around in a Borders cafe after a root canal, and it seemed like a nice, distracting treat. Odds are you’ve at least heard of the TV series “Castle,” in which writer Rick Castle is shadowing detective Kate Beckett as research for his novels about detective Nikki Heat. Lucky for us fans, someone came up with the brilliant idea of publishing the fictitious Castle’s books so we could enjoy another layer of the game.
I’ll get this out of the way straight out: if you don’t watch the show, you probably won’t get that much out of the book. It isn’t particularly meaty if you can’t enjoy the extra nuances brought out by knowing that the characters in the book are based on those in the show. That said, if you really just want a quick, easy, entertaining mystery, you could certainly do a lot worse!
In Heat Wave, detective Nikki Heat has been told to take journalist Jameson Rook along on her work so he can research an article. She ends up investigating the death of a real estate tycoon who took a plunge out of a window and onto the NYC pavement. There are plenty of suspects, bad guys, twists and turns along the way.
First of all, whoever wrote this did a great job of writing it as though the fictitious Rick Castle really was the author. If you’re familiar with the show, you can see the ways in which he puffs up his own stand-in character, Rook; engages in a little wish-fulfillment with regards to the chemistry between him and Nikki; and beautifully captures the banter between Kate/Nikki’s fellow detectives. Thanks to the fact that Castle is in love with Nikki’s strength, this in no way compromises her as a strong and kick-ass female character.
The mystery definitely has its twists and red herrings; it gets a little confusing in a few places, but overall manages to keep things interesting. The characters are one of the highlights of the book—they engage in the same witty banter we’re used to in the show, and thanks to Castle’s lack of self-awareness, he still manages to convey his own character’s somewhat bumbling tendencies.
Not the best book to come out this year, but for fans of the show it’s certainly a fun several-hour diversion!