Richard Castle – Heat Wave

Mystery sensation Richard Castle, blockbuster author of the wildly bestselling 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. Pulitzer Prize-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 a murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between her and Rook. The one called heat.

To be honest, I’d never realised there truly was a Richard Castle book called Heat Wave and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have taken the trouble to pick it up. So when Wiebe found it and its sequel Naked Heat at Forbidden Planet and wanted to get them, I was a bit confused, but intrigued nonetheless and into the shopping basket they went. Castle, starring the fabulous Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, is one of the few TV shows Wiebe and I make sure to watch together every week or at least record to watch later. So I could see why he wanted to read the books. And after he flew through them in a weekend, I decided I’d have to read them for myself as well.

Heat Wave is a gimmick novel, the one Castle writes about Beckett in the TV show. As such it’s hard to disassociate the characters in the book from those in the TV show. In fact reading Heat Wave is much like watching an alternate reality episode of Castle in your head, one in which the fans do get the romance they’ve been denied in the TV show—at least so far as I’ve seen the show and we’re a little behind here in The Netherlands. I’d imagine though, that while they might miss the little in-jokes, that people who haven’t watched the show would be able to understand and appreciate the characters for who and what they are as written in the book.

The book itself isn’t high-flying: the prose is workman-like and the plot is competent, but not brilliant. What this book is though, is fun! There is lots of snark and the same witty banter viewers of Castle might recognise as the show’s stock in trade. Heat Wave is written from Nikki Heat’s viewpoint and it’s fun to have “Beckett’s” point-of-view, although we’re ever conscious that we’re not hitching a ride in Beckett’s head, but in Castle’s version of Beckett. This consciousness comes mainly from the fact that in Jameson Rook we have Castle’s alter ego, who clearly is is Castle-inspired, but also clearly isn’t Castle; he doesn’t have a wise-beyond-her-years teen daughter for one and his mum doesn’t live in either. Heat’s two detectives, Ochoa and Raley, affectionately nicknamed Roach, are adorable. That’s probably a too cutesy word to suit their tastes, but it’s what comes to mind. They’re like an old married couple and best friends at the same time and I loved them.

The relatively short book is an easy read, that just keeps you turning pages. No, it isn’t the next big crime bestseller, but Heat Wave does exactly what it was meant to do, in my opinion, it truly entertains and it forms an admirable companion piece to the TV show. It’s a book for the true Castle fan or as a fun and light beach read for a crime fiction lover.