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Naked Heat (Nikki Heat) Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 28, 2010
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Castle is the title of a television cop show in which a mystery novelist, Richard Castle, teams up with a female NYPD detective (under the pretense of conducting research). In the show, Castle writes novels about a female New York cop, Nikki Heat, who reluctantly pairs up with a writer, Jameson Rook, who’s a fictionalized version of Castle himself. Got all that? Anyway, Naked Heat is the second Nikki Heat novel, credited, like the first (Heat Wave, 2009) to “Richard Castle.” Leaving aside the fiction-within-another-fiction conceit, it’s a pretty fair mystery. Heat and Rook are written in the familiar “contempt-breeds-familiarity” style: they start out antagonists and wind up partners (and more). We’ve seen them before, with other names in other stories, and we like them because they’re comfortable. The story, which begins with a pair of murders that appear to be connected only by their MO, is slick and enjoyable without being too taxing on the reader’s imagination. The book is exactly what it’s supposed to be: an entertaining but undemanding mystery that should draw attention to the TV series from which it’s spun off. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The TV series Castle is a big hit, and many of its fans will be curious to read a “real” book by their favorite fictional mystery writer. --David Pitt
About the Author
Richard Castle is the author of numerous bestsellers, including the critically acclaimed Derrick Storm series. His first novel, In a Hail of Bullets, published while he was still in college, received the Nom DePlume Society's prestigious Tom Straw Award for Mystery Literature. Castle currently lives in Manhattan with his daughter and mother, both of whom infuse his life with humor and inspiration.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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?
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.
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