Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Title: Heat Wave
Series: Nikki Heat
Author: Richard Castle
Read copy: eBook
Published: September 29, 2009
Publisher: Hyperion
ISBN: 1401394760
ISBN-13: 9781401394769

Richard Castle, proprietor of the successful Derrick Storm franchise, wants to introduce us to the new crime fighter in town. She's Nikki Heat, a sexy, opinionated NYPD homicide detective who is being asked to bite into more than her fair share of perplexing Big Apple murders. Adding insult to overwork, her boss assigns her to babysit a handsome Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. Sparks are flying in every direction in this series.

My rating:

This is a prime example of TV-show-success exploitation. It reads like a fanfiction written by someone NOT Richard Castle. At least not Richard Castle from the TV show. Because from what I saw in the series, the “original” Richard Castle at least appears to be a (much) better writer.

So, why the fanfiction-y feel?

1. It read like one of the episodes of the TV show, though to be turned into one if would need a lot of work.

2. All of the “main” characters were there (with slightly different names), and Mr. Castle didn’t bother much with characterization. They were all pretty much one-dimensional and would’ve been bland without my imagination providing for their voices, images, and filling up all the other holes.

3. It had a little more nudity (scene with Pochenko).

4. It had the mandatory sex scene between the two leads (What’s the acronym for them in the fanfic world? Caskett?), though it still read like an episode part (...they tumble onto the bed. [Fade to black] The next morning...). I missed the “steaminess” so-much-advertised in one of the starter episodes of Season 2.

Especially given the last one, which could be Richard Castle living out writing up his fantasy scenario with “real life” Nikki Heat (Det. Kate Beckett), why did I say it was written by someone so obviously not Richard Castle from the show?

Well, sure, Jameson Rook (Richard Castle’s “fictional” counterpart, and the one Nikki Heat had a naked one-on-one on “page 105” sans all the steam if we don’t count the fictional heat wave) was a bit more “heroic” and more obviously protective than his “real life” counterpart, but why on earth would Rick Castle write himself to be such an idiot? Because while the “real” Richard Castle would sometimes act like a child (well, most of the time) he’s a pretty good detective, often providing insightful and helpful information for solving the case. James Rook on the other hand appeared to have no clue, jumping from conclusion to conclusion, suspect to suspect, offering himself up for embarrassment and pick-on fodder for Heat and Roach.

Maybe I dissected this a bit too much (when it comes to characters), instead of just enjoying it for an entertaining romp that it hoped to be was. But as a new, yes, but enthusiastic fan of Castle I couldn’t help but feel cheated with this book.

This is one of those times when you wish you could get a refund.

One-dimensional characters, some of them acting not at all like them (Jameson Rook is one example, Nikki Heat the other, because she was being a bitch through most of the book), a pretty standard crime with the perp visible from a mile away, not particularly well-written. The flow was broken, the pacing slow, the jumping from scene to scene a bit too jarring...

I do have the next book on my eReader, but I think I’ll wait and enjoy the TV show instead.


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