Book Review – Naked Heat by Richard Castle

The overlap between the fictional world of ABC’s Castle and the world-within-a-world created by the second tie-in novel, Naked Heat, takes the viewer’s enjoyment to another level while leaving those who are not fans of the show with a solid follow-up to Heat Wave. With plenty of inside jokes just for the fans, Naked Heat leaves readers (and Castle fans) with confidence that the series will continue to entertain (both on the screen and on the page).

Though Heat Wave left things on a positive note between Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook, in the interim between novels, their fledgling romance hit a bump and they were thrown in separate directions. Of course, as is the case in every piece of fiction set in one of the world’s largest cities, life tosses them back together in the form of another murder investigation. Rook trades tagging along with gossip columnist Cassidy Towne for another ride-along with an irritated Detective Heat.

You would think that it would be easier to keep up with a corpse, however Towne’s body is two steps ahead of them just as her columns and sources were always two steps ahead of her subjects. Chasing down a body and a long list of celebrities shows both Heat and Rook that there’s a lot of unfinished business between them but they will have to wait for the case to be over before they will have a chance to deal with their own issues.

It surprised me that it still took a while for the parallels between the characters of book and the show to fade given that I had previously read Heat Wave (although that was several months ago now). There were also quite a few more instances where the book called to mind scenes in the show where elements of the novel, then “in progress,” were mentioned (specifically a scene involving how to escape a chair to which someone is duct taped).

Even with all of the references between the show and novel, after a certain point, they do fade into the background as the action-packed story takes over. There may be a few too many elements twisting around in the plot and getting tangled together, but that is what can make this genre so much fun. It is a weird combination of hoaky one-liners and a predictable, albeit complicated, plot that turn this into an enjoyable novel. The reader is not too concerned with figuring out the plot (and there are times when it twists around on itself so hard it could pull a muscle), so they are free to relax and experience the well-plotted pace that comes with the experience of writing for television.

The character development within the novel is hardly worth mentioning. But then, the characters of the novel are not the only characters at hand. The character of Richard Castle is given more depth as the novel shows insight into the “author’s” mind. It may not register for those who are not fans, but it wouldn’t distract from their enjoyment either. Overall, the novel was just as much fun as watching an episode and actually feels like it could have been pieced together from passed-over scripts.

 

Heat Wave

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