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on September 24, 2011
While I very much enjoyed the first two books in the brilliantly clever Castle tie-in series of Nikki Heat novels by the fictional Richard Castle, this third one is my favorite to date. These books go beyond simple franchise merchandising and clever tie-in. They are fully worthy of comparison to any modern best selling crime novels, completely separated from their TV series origin or not. And for those like me who are huge fans of said series, Castle, it's all the more fun.

I actually finished this novel in one sitting, up all night until 5:00 AM. It's actually the first time I've done a book all in one go. Completely loved it.

I still don't think anyone has revealed who's really writing these. My bet would be Andrew Marlowe, but he has continued to perfectly play along with the whole "they are written by Richard Castle" facade. Quite frankly, I think it's more fun if they never actually admit who's ghost writing them.

I anxiously look forward to the fourth book in the series (next year, perhaps?)

Oh, and extra points for another Malcolm Reynolds reference...
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on September 22, 2011
The only problem with this story is that, as it must, ended. The story was so enjoyable, especially seeing the intertwine of things that have happened in the show with this read. Keeping in mind where Rick Castle's mindset would've been given the show's arc, reading "his" fiction made me feel like I was gaining better understanding into how deep his feelings are toward Kate Beckett. Loved that! Even without the romantic aspect, the thriller/suspense part of Heat Rises is captivating and altogether smartly written. The Victoria St. Clair excerpt was humorously stellar for any Castle shipper. I expect we'll be seeing the Victoria St. Clair series sometime in the future? Definitely looking forward to the next Heat book :)
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on September 20, 2011
If you liked the first books in this series, you'll really enjoy this one. If you're new to the realm that Castle presents here, you can still jump in and enjoy (though it's suggested you check out the first two, first!)

A lot of people compare Castle to Patterson and I don't think it's unfair, but perhaps due to so many fewer books, Castle is perceived as slightly less "commercial." But commercial works, commercial sells. This isn't Shakespeare, you won't be asking yourself deep questions about life during or after reading, but you'll enjoy it. And that's what books are all about! Don't go into this looking for a deeper meaning, just go into it with the hope of a fun read, and you'll really be glad you did.
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on November 26, 2011
The problem with having authors ghostwrite the 'Richard Castle' books is that, when a new author decides to take over the duties of writing, the tone and narrative shift can be quite jarring.

The narrative introduces many characters, giving them page space with little pay off. Be it cops on Nikki's team that are dropped after a few chapters of them being developed, never to be heard again (such as the cop nicknamed Opie and Det. Heisenberg) to characters mentioned in passing that get pages of backstory but never appear in the actual story (such as the man Rook interviewed during his investigation...we didn't need pages and pages about some British Arms dealer that will never affect the story). The sad thing is that by wasting time with these characters, the true players get almost no screen time. The main 'villains' of the story, infact, receive the least amount of pages and you are left feeling they are one dimensional.

Then there is the issue with dialogue. Castle, the show, is known for its fast banter. This book, many times, slows that down by having Nikki give several paragraphs of internal thought to a comment before making her retort. Just like above, this comes off as unneeded...one gets the sense that the author is padding the story, just to try and making the page minimum.

The structure of the story itself differs greatly from the first two books, as well. The first two were fast tales that focuses on romance and mystery, whipping through the moments at a breakneck pace while filling the pages with sly references to events from the previous season of the show.

In Heat Rises, such easter eggs are non-existent, and the author has decided to focus more on the inner politics of the police force than on the mystery itself. When one reads about a dead priest tortured in a sex dungeon, we want more of that...not chapter upon chapter of Nikki dealing with the inner workings of the police. Remember how everyone loved 'The Phantom Menace' because it was about bureaucracy? Yeah, me neither. The inner workings plot drags the piece down, bogging the narrative to the point that when it does get back to the mystery you are disgusted to find nothing has changed. Infact, it takes almost the entire book to finally get the mystery moving, and when it does occur it is such a rush job that it comes off as sad. The great betrayals and revelations are muted by the fact that we simply don't KNOW these villains, because the author spent the last 3 chapters having Nikki chit chat with random characters.

There is an old joke when it comes to the classic 'Moby Dick': Read the first 3 chapters, then skip the next 10. Heat Rises is Richard Castle's Moby Dick...a great step up followed by a good half of the book prattling on about information that we don't need, just so the author can show all their research. You could literally skim a 1/3rd of the book and not miss much.

Now, this review is coming off as very negative. But I still enjoyed the book...alot. The problem is, when compared to the first two books (both clearly written by a different author), this one becomes a sad tale that will, most likely, be looked on as the weakest of the three and the one most often skipped by writers when they decide to reexamine the series. Hyperion should consider finding another author, one able to mimic the style of the first two books, as Heat Rises is not the Richard Castle story we've all come to know and love.
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I love the concept of these books. Richard Castle, a fictitious mystery writer on the TV series, Castle, tags along with Homicide Detective Kate Beckett when investigating murders to get ideas for books and learn more about police procedure. He writes a series based on Kate, calling the character Nikki Heat. All of the characters Castle deals with on the TV show are showcased in the Heat series and they've released this fictitious series to us. His own character in the book, Jameson Rook, is an investigate journalist tagging along with Nikki Heat. They take it so far as to have the author of the book listed as Richard Castle.

This third book is a very involved mystery with so many pieces to it you wonder how it'll all pull together. But it does at the very end. It starts with the death of a priest in a sex torture club and takes you into areas and directions that totally surprised me. You'll love Nikki Heat who does her best to be true to herself even when politics become involved and she's offered what most people would gladly accept. The other characters are also well done and add a great deal of spice to the story.

The story is filled with a lot of action, twists and turns, relationships, tension, non-explicit sex and a just flat out wonderful mystery. I very much enjoyed the first two books, but this one is the best so far.

You don't need to watch the series to read these books. It's just a little more fun when you can put faces to the book's characters. I'd dearly love to know the actual author's name to see what else they've written.
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on October 1, 2011
The first two books felt like exaggerated episodes, though the second book was definitely better than the first.

This is a better story, feels more like a novel in its own right, and when taken in the context of the show, comes across as... quite the love letter.

Definitely worth the time to read it.
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on September 26, 2011
Just finished the Kindle edition of Heat Rises, I loved it! The story line kept me interested and wasn't predictable. This was the best book so far and I hope there are more to come. I highly recommend this book and series even if you haven't watched the show but seriously you have to watch the show because it is awesome.
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on September 24, 2011
This book is a bit longer than the first two, and I have to confess I was worried at first that the quality had gone down, leaving us more filler than story.
I was wrong. Well, at least mostly.

There is a LOT of story here. It probably could have been edited down a little, but I am still pleased enough to give the results 5 stars. I find it difficult to say much about the story without revealing how it correlates (or doesn't) to Castle. There are lots of silly references, which brought a smile or even a chuckle in a story that is much more serious than the previous books on Nikki Heat. I honestly had a couple of moments where I was shocked by the direction the story went.

My only criticisms are:
1: The sex. Really? We get it, there's tension between Castle & Beckett, so there's a lot of sex between Rook & Heat. But this isn't one of Victoria St. Clair's novels, and I'd rather just take it for granted and read about the mystery than a bunch of barely written "OMG I WANT YOU" scenes. No, they are not explicit and probably not offensive, but there comes a point where they just feel thrown in as an after thought.
2: There's no closure concerning everything brought up about one of the suspects, and I'm curious to see (in comments to avoid Spoilers, please) if anyone else was bothered by it.

Those two issues included, I still feel this is the strongest yet of the Nikki Heat series and I'm really happy to see the ghost writer(s) taking off with it!
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on October 24, 2011
I've read all three of the Heat books. This one, in my opinion, is the best read of the group so far. But in addition, it represents a shift in presentation. Here's my thought on that: In the first two books (especially the first) there was a clear effort to tap into the physical attraction between the two leads. I have no problem with that, none at all. But with this one the story is presented in a broader context, with the emotional portion of their relationship presented as well as the physical. I love the TV series, and that gives me (and probably you as well) a sort of head start on affection for these characters. This story is more complex, the detective aspect of crime solving is presented in greater detail, and the supporting characters are richly written. This is especially true when considered in light of the corresponding characters in the TV show. One of the early reviewers said he hated that it ended - I'm good with that. There was enough laughter, and maybe enough sadness, and certainly enough suspense to make me re-read the book after letting it rest for a couple of weeks. I'd love to know who the ghost writer is. I'd be interested to check out his/her other work.
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on July 19, 2015
A good fun read. There are twice as many sex scenes as Naked heat, so the titles should have been switched. Big question...why didn't Castle's daughter appear in ANY of the books? She is a main character?! I really want to know who the ghost writers are. I'd like to read their books. It's not fair that they get zero recognition for all of these best selling books. I believe there are more than one ghost writer. The Storm books are completely different from the Heat books. And each book in the Heat series has major changes and dialogue differences. Each one gets better as you go. They are still over priced though. Had I not watched the series, I wouldn't have paid this much for the books. They are very fun but they are missing a great deal of Castle' s fun personality. Too many acronyms and not enough jokes. And his mom is only mentioned twice? There was too much confusing lost book space to learning new characters that aren't even on the show. The focus should be on the main characters. Not the new detectives. I found this one very hard to read. But they do improve with each title. So keep learning whomever you are, ghost writer. Mire suspense! Less relationship drama!! More fun!
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