Sorry, Castle, I love your television show, but Heat Wave is lukewarm at best :(
It's been said that the bigger they are, the harder they fall...so maybe that's why king of New York real estate Matthew Starr just took a plunge from a six-story balcony. And while plenty of people may have wanted Starr dead, since he himself wasn't one of them, the authorities know they have a homicide on their hands. So the NYPD does what they always do when they need to catch a murderer...they turn up the Heat! As detective Nikki Heat investigates Starr's murder, she finds herself being trailed by dangerous opponents, professional killers, and worst of all, annoying tag-along reporter Jameson Rook! Nikki Heat always gets her man...and no one is more happy to hear that than Jameson Rook!
Okay, let me just get something out of the way...this book, which is a media tie-in for the "Castle" television series, is advertised as being written by a fictional character...so it's not like I went into this expecting high art or anything! But I am a big fan of Castle, and while a lot of the success of that series is owed to its brilliant stars, Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion (who play, respectively, NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett and best-selling author Richard Castle), I've always enjoyed the writing on the show as well. The dialogue is often clever, the characters are all likeable in their own quirky ways, and the mysteries are fun to solve. So while I understood that I wasn't about to read the next [b:War and Peace|656|War and Peace|Leo Tolstoy|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1366570580s/656.jpg|4912783] here, I was hoping to read something that was about as enjoyable as an average episode of the Castle television show. So imagine my disappointment when this book didn't even manage to live up to those
expectations...After reading "Heat Wave", I'm not surprised bookstores don't seem to be in any danger of selling out all their copies...
At first glance, I thought I was in for a fun ride. The cover features a blurb from James Patterson (a frequent guest-star on the series) praising "Castle's" latest effort. The book is dedicated to "the extraordinary KB" and all of Castle's friends "at the 12th". The acknowledgements tear down the fourth wall when Castle includes some very familiar names (including Stana's & Nathan's), and the "About The Author" blurb features a rather amusing clue as to who the book's authors really were. Unfortunately, it didn't take long before I stopped grinning and started groaning instead. For one thing, the prose is beyond clumsy. The writers were clearly trying to mimic the hard-boiled writing style of Raymond Chandler and Michael Connelly, but the prose is often just dull in the best moments, and downright awful in the worst. Another glaring problem is the mystery itself. Anyone who has read more than ZERO mysteries will have no problem figuring out the solution long before Nikki Heat does. In fact, the only reason I ever wondered if I may have been mistaken is that the solution seemed so painfully obvious, I questioned if maybe the book would throw an unexpected twist at me towards the end. Sadly the ending held no surprises (and didn't come soon enough, for that matter).
Now, since it's alluded to that this book was really written by two of the TV show's head writers, I can give them some leeway in regards to the above complaints. After all, television writers aren't accustomed to telling a story through third-person narration, they mostly use dialogue and action to move things along. So while I expected that the prose might be lacking, I at least thought that I would have some fun with the characters themselves. Unfortunately, the writers came up short here too. I'll admit that I got a kick out of watching the main characters of the show pop up throughout the book. In addition to Beckett and Castle being channeled through Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook, Beckett's team of nerdy detective Ryan and cocky detective Esposito show up as Detectives Raley and Ochoa, while sassy medical examiner Lanie Parish is transformed into Lauren Parry. Unfortunately, none of the book characters have even a fraction of the charisma of their television counterparts. Raley and Ochoa display almost no personality, with most of their attempted jokes falling flat. And Jameson Rook is just downright annoying! While Castle is a bit too full of himself, his charm and sense of humor still make him the kind of guy you'd like to have a drink with. Rook, on the other hand, is the kind of guy you'd like to slip a mickey in his drink just to get him to shut up! He comes across as a self-absorbed egomaniac, and the only thing the writers get right with him is that his behavior makes it completely understandable why Nikki wouldn't want to have him around! The ladies fare a little better, with Parry offering some tender moments. And while Nikki isn't nearly as endearing as Kate Beckett, she at least manages to outshine the other characters (which is kind of like crediting the vampire episode of Gilligan's Island as being the most believable)
!There may be a little Nikki Heat in Kate Beckett, but there isn't nearly enough Kate Beckett in Nikki Heat :(
That's not to say that the entire book is a failure. The action sequences are actually very well done, especially an exciting fight between Nikki and a brutal hit-man. And while the dialogue often lacks the zing of the TV show's, sometimes the characters do fire off a good one (like when Heat refers to an interrogation being conducted by her and Rook as them playing "Good Cop - No Cop
"). And fans of the show will enjoy some of the winks to the audience. Castle's mother Martha has a hysterical cameo as Margaret Rook...it's too bad her appearance was so short, as she was the only one who really lived up to her television counterpart. And then there's Chapter Ten...hardcore fans of "Castle" already know what I'm talking about! On the television series, after "Heat Wave" is released, Beckett is soon shocked (but also somewhat intrigued) when she learns that there is a hot sex scene between Nikki and Jameson on Chapter 10. People who have heard Chapter Ten referenced on the show will have fun getting to see what all the fuss was about, and yes, we now can understand why Beckett was horrified, yet also flattered, when she read the scene for herself... DAVE'S FINAL JUDGMENT - THE DEFENSE
- Occasionally the dialogue is clever
- Fans of the show will get a big kick out of Chapter 10
- At under 200 pages, it's a quick readTHE PROSECUTION
- Uninspired prose
- Main story is dull
- The solution to the mystery is way too obvious
- At under 200 pages, the book still manages to be too longTHE VERDICT
Little more than a lazy cash grab from the makers of "Castle". Die-hard fans of the show may find some enjoyment from this book, but even they would be better served by just watching the TV show instead.