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#94 Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Matthew Starr is a wealthy businessman who lives with his pretty young wife and son in an apartment in New York City that could double as a fine art museum. That is, until he plunges six stories to his death. As Detective Nikki Heat inspects his murder, she discovers that there was much more to Matthew Starr than the public perceived, and that many of the people connected to him had just as many secrets. To make things more complicated, Nikki has to solve this mystery while playing babysitter to Jameson Rook, a Pulitzer winning reporter who’s writing an article on Nikki, and insists on being part of every moment of the investigation.

You need to give ABC credit for the way they’ve been handling their TV show Castle, which focuses on a New York Times Bestselling author who decides to base a series of books off of a New York City police detective, Kate Beckett (sound familiar?). During the first season, we watched as Castle wrote his first novel based on Beckett, called Heat Wave, and ABC has given us a treat by actually releasing this slim novel, therefore showing us what the fuss was all about. Fans will quickly find parallels to the television show, not only between Heat and Beckett, and Castle and Rook, but for every major (and a couple memorable minor) character in the television show with the exception of Alexis. As a result, half of the fun is pointing out these similarities, which occur not only with characters, but also occasionally in dialogue and situation. I suspect that Heat Wave will be the most appealing to existing fans of the television show, but newcomers may have a harder time getting into it.

Heat Wave reads like an extended episode from season one, and as a result it has many of its strengths and weaknesses. The best part of Castle has always been in its characters, especially in the interaction between its two leads, and the same goes for Heat Wave. It’s presented a little differently here, as the story is mainly told from Nikki’s (aka Beckett’s) perspective and Rook (Castle) takes a backseat. Whereas in the TV show we get to see a lot of Castle’s home life, here we get to see Nikki’s reflections on her mother’s murder, and her devotion to her job. There’s also a fair amount of wish fulfillment in Heat Wave, both for Castle and the fans who’d like to see the sexual tension between Castle and Beckett taken to the next level. Heat Wave’s biggest weakness is the mystery itself is a bit predictable (something I noticed occasionally with season one of the TV show, although season two has improved on this greatly). Although there are a few twists and turns along the way as we discover the deep dark secrets that out characters’ hold, I wasn’t too far into the book before I had singled out a certain character as the possible baddie, and as the book continued it became more and more obvious that they were the culprit.

Heat Wave is a very fun read that is sure to please fans of the television show Castle. Much like the show, we have a fun story, and great interaction between the characters. Unlike the show, we get to see more of who Beckett really is, which made it a satisfying read.

Rating: four stars
Length: 198 pages
Source: borrowed from a friend
Similar Books: Er… well Nikki reminded me a lot of Murphy from the Dresden Files. Give me a break, I don’t read that much of this genre!
Other books I've read by this author: this is my first. I hope ABC decides to publish at least one a season form now on!

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