on September 29, 2010
I will start this by admitting that whoever is actually writing the "Richard Castle" books is not Doyle or Christie, no. These aren't mind boggling mysteries, but they ARE extremely entertaining.
I enjoyed Heat Wave a lot, but Naked Heat stepped up the writing a bit for me. Maybe it was just because the characters had already been created, but the author found a better voice.
The scene starts about 3 months after HW, with the fallout from Rook's article about Nikki. There's a body, then a couple more, and some really interesting connections between them. The new characters are well formed; the dialog is funny and for the most part not too trite or clichéd, although it does have some close calls.
You will probably end up guessing who the killer is, although the connection will remain a mystery until the end. And as the saying goes, it's the journey, not the destination. Even if you've been on the ride before, it's still enjoyable. :)
Besides, if you're looking at this book you're probably a fan of the show, and how much fun is it to play "spot the tie in" to Castle?
on October 6, 2010
After the success of Heat Wave, the first tie-in novel to ABC's hit mystery/police procedural/comedy Castle (yeah, it even made the New York Times' Bestsellers List), ABC is continuing the adventures of Detective Nicki Heat and reporter Jameson Rook in Naked Heat. Not only does it have an already built-in fan base, but the entire show serves as essentially "free" advertising. Even better, in the Castle episode that aired the day before the book came out (the typically Monday time slot), the writers threw in a casual conversation between characters where they just happened to mentioned that Castle's new book is "coming out tomorrow -the actual release date of Naked Heat.
In Naked Heat, reporter Jameson Rook's juicy piece on Nicki Heat has just hit stands. Though his summer ride-along is over, Jameson is eager to get back on Detective Heat's case. Though Heat would rather avoid her former lover, and the emotional baggage that comes with him, she crosses paths with Jameson while investigating the murder of famous New York gossip columnist Cassidy Towne. As the mystery unfolds, the relationship between Jameson and Nicki heats up.
Much better than Heat Wave, Naked Heat reads like an expanded episode of the show, except that Nicki is a romanticized version of Beckett that is probably drawn from Castle's fantasies about the detective. Even though one of the show's writers probably didn't ghost write this book, the characters' dialog is dead on. I could even hear Castle and Beckett talking in my head. The cast of suspects feels like something out of an episode of the show and while the mystery is somewhat predictable, its obviously drawn from the show.
Though its not great literature (more in the vein of James Patterson), Naked Heat is a fun mystery that's great for Castle fans.
on October 6, 2010
I love it. I can hear Richard Castle's voice when Jameson Rook speaks, and I can see Detective Beckett's mannerisms every time Nikki Heat gets defensive or kicks butt. It's like I have two Castles. I have the one on TV, and I have the alternate-universe Castle and Beckett in the book - although they go by the names Rook and Heat. I say alternate-universe because In Naked Heat, the author takes Rook and Heat and sends them down a path that resembles parts of the show, but has enough difference in the storyline that it's very easy to keep the show and the book separated in one's mind. I'm already looking forward to the next book, with Rook and Heat continuing down the path of their storyline as Castle and Beckett move further down their similar but different path, giving us two versions of Castle to follow. It feels like Christmas has come early.
If I had picked this up off the shelf, knowing nothing about the tv show, I would have still loved it just as much, and would be looking for more from this author. It has great visual writing, and the dialogue is witty and interesting - much like the show, of course. There are a lot of characters who walk through the pages of Naked Heat, but they are really easy to keep track of, and it keeps you from figuring all of it out before the end.
You won't go away disappointed, and you'll come away with a couple of interesting extras... like Victoria St Clair.
on October 12, 2010
Richard Castle graces us fans with his second 'novel' based on Detective Kate Beckett, Nicki Heat. This time Jameson Rook (Castle's on page persona in the Nikki Heat series) is found right in the thick of the crime. Cassidy Towne, NYC gossip columnist and muckraker is found murdered in her home. Who's there to greet Heat and company as they take the call? None other than Jameson Rook.
If you're a fan of the Castle TV show, this sounds strangely close to the season three opener, and it is. But that's what I enjoy about the novels. They're written by 'Richard Castle' so his experiences with the 13th precinct as depicted by the show should make their way into his Nikki Heat detective series. The tie in is really very clever. Heat is based on Becket (obviously..it's the premise of the TV show), Rook is based on Castle himself...'Castle' writes into these alter egos what he'd like to see happen on the TV show (ie, Castle's real 'life'); Rook and Heat in on solving crimes like Becket and Castle, them taking their relationship with one another to the next level, as Castle would no doubt love to happen in his real 'life'.
I think the most impressive thing is that whoever is writing these novels under the name of Nathan Fillian's character from the TV show really makes the reader believe it's Castle who is writing the books. Aside from the fact that just enough of the shows plotlines, both story wise and character interplay wise, make it into the novels, the voice feels like that of 'Castle'.
In the end, a pretty solid murder mystery with plenty of red herrings and surprises and a similar charm that fans of the show should fine instantly familiar.
on October 8, 2010
Quick prelude -- for anyone who isn't aware, the 'author' Richard Castle is a fictional character from the tv series Castle on ABC. So don't spend any time looking for Derrick Storm books - they don't exist. In the tv series, Richard Castle, a book writer, teams up with a group of NYPD detectives and writes the Nikki Heat series. ABC and Hyperion publishing haven't revealed the real author of the books, that I'm aware of.
As for Naked Heat itself -- it's a good mystery. Most of the book you are following through the eyes of either Nikki Heat, the NYPD detective, or Jameson Rook, the writer; with a few brief pages following Heat's partners, Raley and Ochoa. Some people may not like the switching viewpoints, but it works here. The story isn't done in the style of Agatha Christie, in that you're expected to pick of subtle clues throughout the narrative on your own; but rather, you learn what the the major characters learn. Which frankly, is a much more satisfying read, for me, than Christie's style.
The story starts out with Nikki Heat responding to one murder, and then almost immediately being pulled off onto a higher profile murder of a well-known gossip columnist. We are then brought through the mystery of interlocking crimes, red herrings, witness interviews, and detective work. The majority of the story is well written and enjoyable. There is one part early in the book where you're astounded that the crime solvers don't follow up on what the reader will obviously pick up as a clue, but goes right over the head of everyone in the story. In avoiding spoilers, I won't get into any more detail - but I do wish the author had written that section a little better. The 'clue' is dismissed pretty cavalierly.
As for comparing this book to the prior novel - Heat Wave... it's a much more satisfying read. For one thing, it's nearly 100 pages longer than the first outing; so the story can be that much more intricate and satisfying. The first book was really a toe in the water to see if customers would bite; and since they did, we've now been given a full-length story to enjoy.
Why not 5 stars, since I obviously enjoyed the book? Well, it's a good mystery, but not a great mystery. The 'missed clue' I mentioned before is a little jarring, and the pacing of the book was a bit off. The first section of the book picks up the pace really well - so much so in fact, that I thought I was nearing point where the crime would be solved, only to look at the number of pages I had remaining to realize that I was only half way through the novel. And soon after this, the pace slows down and you do have a bit of a dead spot in the narrative where not much progress is made. While this certainly well portrays what could be a lack of progress in a true to life investigation, it is a bit annoying to see the narrative slow down so much before it picks up the pace again.
As for my last thoughts on the book... I think it was a pretty good decision on ABC's part to develop this series. And that's because this series solves a dilemma for ABC. In all tv series where there is that smoldering love interest between the two main characters, the producers have to decide when, or even if, the romance will ever come to fruition. With this series, I think ABC will sidestep that decision. I don't think we'll ever see Richard Castle and Kate Beckett ever become a real couple. By having Rook and Heat have a sexual relationship in the books, they're basically telling viewers of the series who want to see that happen to go here, to the books, for their fix. The producers of Castle can now keep that tension going indefinitely and not risk going the way of Moonlighting - which lost a lot of its magic after the characters became a 'real couple'.
on March 20, 2011
The premise of the book was interesting. There were plenty of red herrings, but the story just never really clicked for me. It just was not a perfect story for the "Castle" franchise. The plot and storyline never rang true for me. One of my favorite lines from the show is the description of Castle/Rook as, "A nine year old with a sugar rush." That feeling is missing for me from this novel.
The characters never changed or grew in any way during Naked Heat. There was no character development really. They seemed to be cookie cutter characters who did the basics of what Rook and Heat are known for, rather than doing anything to stretch those boundaries at all.
I found the dialogue to be lacking the spark and wit of both the TV show and the first book Heat Wave. Whichever writer undertook this novel just did not have the same oomph to their writing as I had come to expect from the show and first book. The timing was off, and there was a missed opportunity for better writing.
Note: Castle is a TV series, and no one knows who writes the books, but it was obvious to me that the writing style of Naked Heat was vastly different from that of the previous novel: Heat Wave.
on June 27, 2011
Naked Heat turned out to be the book that I wanted to read when I picked up the first book of the series, Heat Wave. This second book in Richard Castle's Nikki Heat series, published to tie-in with the hit ABC show Castle, was much more substantial than the first, and an all-round better read. The plot revolves around the death of a not-much-liked gossip columnist, Cassidy Towne, and around uncovering the many layers that obscure the reason for her death. To add to the drama, Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook have not seen each other for a while, and the way in which they reconnect at the beginning of Naked Heat sets the stage for some interesting byplay in their (re)developing relationship. Of course, this plotline echoes the Season 3 premiere of the show, in which Castle is found with the victim of a murder, and this initial tie-in sets the stage for the rest of the book.
Many of the issues that I did not like with the first book didn't arise in the second. Naked Heat was even more solidly plotted, with an engaging mystery and characters (suspects and victims) that were varied and interesting. There was a much better sense of polish, with lots of attention being paid to producing a well told story, and not so much going to establishing the book as a tie-in to the show. It certainly benefitted from this treatment, as well as possibly from the fact that the writer(s) simply may have had more time to work on this one. Both Heat Wave and Naked Heat contain vastly entertaining, not unduly taxing, extremely engaging `whodunit' mysteries, but Naked Heat does it much, much better.
In Naked Heat, there's also a much clearer distinction drawn between Richard Castle and Jameson Rook, as well as Kate Beckett and Nikki Heat. While the conceit of asking the reader to see the show's characters in the ones on the page still applies, Rook and Heat seem more fully drawn, with identifiably separate personalities from their television counterparts. As much as I want to be able to `see' something of Beckett and Castle in the main characters of the books, I also want Rook and Heat to not merely be carbon copies, but to be able to stand on their own as well-rounded characters. After reading the first book, I thought that maybe I was expecting too much, but in Naked Heat this expectation was well realized.
Jameson Rook is a more abrasive character than Richard Castle. He's a little less likeable and so it's definitely not as easy to forgive his foibles. Additionally, Rook comes over as more self-serving than Castle and, along with some other minor differences, this serves to give Rook more ground to stand on as a character in his own right. The same can be said for Nikki Heat, who is a little rougher, a little less tolerant, and quite a bit `sluttier' (to use the show's term) than Kate Beckett. At the same time, Nikki is clearly seen to be working through the conflicts of what she wants in her personal life, especially as it concerns Rook, and this serves to make her as likeable and engaging as Beckett, while still establishing that she is someone different.
What didn't change between the first and second books of the series were the references to the show, which added another interesting level on which to read the book. Once you're a fan of the TV series, you can't help but notice the not-so-subtle references to the show and it feels like you're discovering little treasures along the way. The practice in the show to referencing other projects which the stars have done (especially Nathan Fillion's `Firefly') also makes its appearance in the book, and enhances that level of enjoyment. There's one surprise however, that belongs purely to the book and was utterly hilarious, with the potential for lots more gags in upcoming books. The theme in the book of people having secrets is extended to Jameson Rook having one of his own, and the results are very, very funny indeed.
I also felt that more research went into this book, as there were lots of minor details about people and especially places that was missing from the first - at least for me - and really made this book come alive. It's those things that, as a reader, you'd never know if they weren't there unless you're an expert on the subject, but when they are included, makes for a much richer reading experience and makes the story come alive. This is something that I tend to look for, and I'll always give kudos to an author who does this for me.
I was really surprised when I realized that I was only about ten pages from the end. On the heels of that surprise was disappointment - I was truly sorry when Naked Heat ended, and that's a feeling a reader always wants to have at the end of a book.
I'm a newcomer to the TV show, "Castle." I discovered it just two months ago, and now I'm all caught up with my wife and I having had "Castle" marathons for a couple of weeks in a row. If you'll simply buy the premise that a mystery writer who happens to be friends with the mayor gets to "ride along" with a senior Detective Beckett and help her solve crimes, then you're in for an enjoyable treat. The writers (plural) of the TV show also give us two other detectives, plus Castle's actress mother and extremely smart and adorable daughter, all of whom are tremendously likeable, often funny, and who interact as though they like/love each other. It becomes utterly believable and each episode is wrapped around a murder or three.
I just happened to be looking for a new mystery to read, and found "Richard Castle" and the character-becomes-author twist. While the TV show at times becomes a little convoluted, I honestly felt that if the author of the book had added one more character, I was going to need an organization chart, and me without a DVR to rewind. A gossip columnist is murdered, and off we go...on an fairly enjoyable read (3 ½ stars actually).
However, the characters are not as likeable - as fleshed out if you will - or as funny. The two "minor" detectives have even lesser roles, and the coroner who on the TV show can crack you up with a look, is along with the daughter and mother, nonexistent. The give-and-take between Castle (or Rook as the case may be) and Beckett (Heat) is flat, and there are few references to the reader's day-to-day real lives that makes you smirk, smile, or just laugh when you hear them on the show.
If there were no TV show, I probably would still give it 4 stars, not 5. Five stars to the show (until the first three of this season) which has the advantage of having excellent actors who make it seem as though they probably like each other off-camera, and without seeing of having facial expressions described, the book is simply lacking.
It's doubtful that I will spend that much to read another "Nikki Heat"/Richard Castle book. If you enjoy the TV show, this may be a disappointment. If you've never seen the show, this may be a pleasant surprise.
on July 12, 2016
This book was exactly what I wanted it to be. A some-what predictable light read. It's definitely a cheesy book. If you are looking for something thought out and well written this is not the book for you. If you want a guilty-pleasure of a read, this is perfect for you.
on November 30, 2010
This is the second book this has been written by Castle. Last year we read the 1st one as we saw the advertisement on TV. we thought if the show was so good, so would the book. We were not disappointed in either the first or second book. As long as he keep's churning them out I will read them !!!