Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Heat Wave

Heat Wave
By Richard Castle

First published: 2009
Series: Nikki Heat #1

Read: 17 - 21 February 2011
Pages: 198
Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge #3
Mystery & Suspence Reading Challenge #2

From the cover
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.

Fans of Castle Will Love This Book

If you have, like me, been watching and enjoying the police drama Castle on ABC, you know all about Richard Castle and Heat Wave. If you haven't, well, what has been stopping you?

Okay, okay, here is a quick summary: Castle is about the famous mystery writer Richard Castle who, thanks to his friendship with the mayor, gets to tag along with NYPD Homicide Detective Kate Beckett as research for his new series about famous journalist Jameson Rook who gets to tag along with NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat as research on an article he is writing about the NYPD.

I will give you a moment to think that through.


Got your head around it yet? Good! Then let us carry on with this review.

I don't know if the real author or authors of Heat Wave (should I call them ghost writers?) work on the television show, but the book certainly reads like a regular episode. I almost expected there to be commercial breaks between each chapter.

I love how Richard Castle is presented as a real, living author. There is a short bio of him inside the back cover, and at the end of the book there is a 4-page interview with him. The book even has blurbs by James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell on the cover (these two have also appeared on the show as themselves).

The murder mystery itself is presented like in an episode; the reader gets the same information as the detectives and at the same time, so it is not easy to guess the murderer early on. In fact, I only realised who it was just before it was revealed in the book, and even then I was not sure.

I adore the dialogue between the characters (again, just like in the tv show). The banter between Heat and detectives Raley and Ochoa (affectionately known as Roach) reflects people who are comfortable with each other and used to thinking in unison. Rook's wise-cracking is very funny, and the sexual tension between Heat and Rook is (excuse the pun) hot.

Because I am so familiar with the tv show, it is impossible for me to think about Heat Wave without thinking about Castle. When I read it, I was seeing Stana Katic as Kate Beckett and Nathan Fillion as Rick Castle in my head instead of picturing Heat and Rook. Would I have enjoyed Heat Wave as much if I had not seen a single episode of Castle? I have no idea. Chances are it would have made me want to watch the show.

Best: The murder mystery, the banter, the sexual tension and being able to get inside the head of Kate Beckett – eh, Nikki Heat.

Worst: My biggest problem with this book was actually the binding. I have the mass market paperback, and the font was very small and the inner margins too thin, so I had to use force to hold the book open enough so that I could read the words closest to the spine. I wish I had bought the Kindle version instead; it would have been much easier to read.

Bottom line: A must-read for Castle fans, a clever mystery novel for everyone else.

My rating:

The Nikki Heat series
  1. Heat Wave
  2. Naked Heat
  3. Heat Rises (coming autumn 2011)
Come back tomorrow for a giveaway of Heat Wave!

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