“A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.
Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City’s top homicide squads. She’s hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York’s Finest. Pulitzer Prize-winning Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. His wise-cracking and meddling aren’t her only problems. AS she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.”
Does the book’s blurb sound familiar? It would if you’re a fan of ABC’s Castle, a cop drama/comedy that has a mystery writer tagging along “one of New York City’s top homicide squads.” And that is this book’s biggest conceit–it’s a book from the fictional universe set by the show. But it’s also the novel’s biggest cop out. Reading the novel is just like watching an episode of the show: the names are different, but the characters are the same. Except for the supporting the characters–from having rich on-screen personalities, they’re toned down into one-dimensional characters in the book.
I’m not dissing Heat Wave. The writing is good, the mystery is decent–it’s just that I was expecting something more than what I got. I knew that Nikki Heat, the main character of the novel, was based off the show’s female lead Kate Beckett. I knew that from the show, and I knew that when I started to read the book. What I didn’t know was that Nikki Heat, for all intents and purposes, is Kate Beckett–except more sexually needy.
I have no problem with sex, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that reading the novel is like reading Castle fan fiction–written by Richard Castle himself.
But I have to say this about the book: it does read like a mystery bestseller. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, is totally up to the reader.
Richard Castle’s Heat Wave is a light-read, and it’s totally recommendable as something to read while juggling work deadlines. But, as I always say, this is just my opinion. Check out a few more that can be found at Suite 101, Steph the Bookworm blog, and Bashing in Minds!