“The bizarre murder of a parish priest at a New York bondage club opens Nikki Heat’s most thrilling and dangerous case so far, pitting her against New York’s most vicious drug lord, an arrogant CIA contractor, and a shadowy death squad out to gun her down. And that is just the tip of an iceberg that leads to a dark conspiracy reaching all the way to the highest levels of the NYPD.
But when she gets too close to the truth, Nikki finds herself disgraced, stripped of her badge, and out on her own as a target for killers, with nobody she can trust. Except maybe the one man in her life who’s not a cop: reporter Jameson Rook.
In the midst of New York’s coldest winter in a hundred years, there’s one thing Nikki is determined to prove: Heat Rises.”
My last post took almost a month to complete, mostly because of the time I needed to finish “editing” the accompanying video. I have no such excuses for this post, since I finished reading this early in January. And I can’t even say the book is hard to write about, since off the three Castle stories, this is the one that I really enjoyed reading. So let’s just chalk it up to laziness. And lack of time–but mostly laziness.
Now, before I start writing about the book, I just want to bring something up (maybe, again. I’m not sure if I already brought this up previously.) The synopsis for books are usually written to help sell the book, correct? And while, I remember writing about this part before, some amazing books are bogged down with really horrible synopsis, what’s the deal with synopsis that reveal a huge chunk of twists from the story? Let’s take this book for example. We start with a single case. A problem arises at the precinct, with regards to their captain. These two, so far, aren’t joined together by anything–and yet, we already know that they will be. Sure, readers who like to read between the lines would quickly spot the lead-in to the bigger picture. But because the synopsis has already spoiled the part where there’s a conspiracy that “reaches all the way to the highest levels of the NYPD“, the story suddenly stales. And it’s not until we get to the point when the connection the NYPD is pronounced that we start looking forward to what happens next again.
Readers are not like viewers, in my opinion. As a viewer, I like knowing secrets ahead of time–because this is a set-up, and a preparation, for the emotional journey that I will be undertaking with the protagonist. As a reader, I like my secrets forshadowed–not laid out in the open. Especially in mystery novels where you’re also testing your mind capacity in solving the crime before your protagonists do. Plot twists revealed in the synopsis only manages to bring down a reader’s enjoyment.
Now, moving on to the story itself, I have to say that whoever’s written this particular novel has a better handle on the characters. For one thing, they’re no longer a copy of the characters from the television show the novels are tied-in on. While they are still influenced by the actions of the characters in the show, they are no longer mirror images. Which I think is good because it doesn’t paint the titular television character in a good light that his characters are mainly mimicking the people in his life. The thing with tie-in content is that it needs to protect the show as well; they have to co-exist and help further develop the characters in their created world. I shudder now, remembering the horrible tie-ins to Charmed and Smallville.
As for the case presented in the story–it’s novel. It’s not reaching to connect the many inconsistencies presented in the case, and yet it manages to tie-up everything perfectly near the end. I also like how some characters were presented to be clear-cut villains, but end up being just… well, slimy and not completely evil. The pacing of the story is fast enough to keep you going, but not too fast that it loses you.
I’ve already mentioned it before, but I’ll write it here one more time: Heat Rises is the best off the Richard Castle novels.