Monday, November 15, 2010

Naked Heat: Reviewing this book makes my brain hurt




I finished the latest book by Richard Castle a few days ago, and I've been thinking about how I want to write this review ever since. You see, Richard Castle is a rock star amongst murder mystery novelists, he struck it big with his series of Derek Storm novels, but shocked the world by killing the character at the end of the last book in the series. After that, he found inspiration in NYPD detective Kate Beckett, and based his new character, Nikki Heat, off of her. Naked Heat is the second book in the Nikki Heat series.



What's so weird about that? I'm sure all three of my regular readers already know, but none of these people are real, Rick Castle and Det. Beckett are both characters on ABC's crime/drama/comedy series Castle. Haven't watched Castle? For shame, I highly recommend it, it's a perfect guilty pleasure movie, a series of one and done murder mysteries, that are fairly light hearted, with a great comedy dynamic between the characters of Castle, Beckett, as well as the rest of the NYPD homicide division.


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Who's that? Is that the guy from Firefly? How about Dr Horrible?


So, the only reason I'm even reading this book, is because it's part of the fiction of the TV series, and it's unique, at least in my experience. The first book in the series really just felt like another episode of the TV show, with just the names thinly obfuscated. Beckett, of course, is Nikki Heat, Castle is now Jameson Rook, rockstar journalist, (blantantly indulgent self-insertion, completely in keeping with Castle's character) Detectives Ryan and Esposito are now Raley and Ochoa (collectively referred to as Roach), ME Lanie Parish is now Lauren Parrey. Taking all of that into account, Heat Wave really felt like an unused script from the first season of the show, which was great, who doesn't want more of one of their favorite shows? And the feel of it translated remarkably well to print.
Naked Heat, on the other hand, really feels like the story Castle would write after the second season of the show. It's easy to pick out elements that were pulled from the "real life" scenarios of the show, to build the story of the novel. Without going into spoilers, there's a scene in the show where Castle's had someone tie him to a chair with duct tape over his mouth, so that he can try and figure out how his character is going to get free. He finally manages to come upon an unexpected solution, and there's a scene in the book that happens exactly the same.
At first I didn't like Naked Heat as much as Heat Wave, it just didn't seem to have that same vibe, but upon finishing it, I have a new respect for it. It really fulfills the promise of the Rick Castle books: Giving you the story that the character is writing based on his experiences on the show. I said earlier that Castle is a one and done sort of show, by which I mean that there's not really a greater plot to each season, it's pretty much just take them as they come. That's not the whole story though, the overarching plot is that he is actually writing a book, it just happens to be a book that you can actually go out and buy.
So, bottom line, if you're a fan of the show, the Castle books are typically had for just over $10 brand new, even in hard cover, and only a couple hundred pages long, so why not?
If you're not a fan of Castle, then I don't know why you bothered to read through this whole article.
And lastly, if you've never seen Castle, it's worth a watch, check out the first season, and if you like what you see, check out Heatwave, see if you get sucked into their fictional universe.

1 comment:

  1. I got into Castle on my long, long fights to and from Europe. I thought it was super fun, cute, and God-Dammit, Nathan Fillian is totally my boyfriend in my dreams (seriously, we met David Letterman one time).

    I just don't watch TV anymore, so I have to catch up on the Hulu or something.

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