For those of you familiar with the TV show Castle, you should probably recognize this title. For those of you who are not familiar with the show, Heat Wave is supposedly the book that main character Richard Castle writes about the female detective he shadows. It is a book featured frequently on the show.
From the very first episode I watched, I have loved Castle. The main character, from whom the show gets its name, is a famous crime mystery novelist and, through his many connections, gets the chance to shadow the badass female detective Kate Beckette. The show is hilarious, most times at least, and the cast is great. (Not to mention the fact that the main character is a writer, of course.) Because of how much I enjoy this show, you can imagine my excitement when my cousin called me up one day several months ago and told me that she had actually found Heat Wave. I couldn’t help it. I had to read it.
WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!
The story centers around Nikki Heat, a talented New York City detective with a sharp mind and no-nonsense attitude. Unfortunately for the serious Nikki, however, the famous reporter Jameson Rook has been given permission to shadow her and her team for an article on New York’s finest, and he is anything but serious. When Nikki and her crew are called out to investigate the death of a rich, if shady, businessman, it sets into play a chain of crimes, and Nikki must find who the culprit is before more people get hurt, including herself. But the chain of crimes isn’t Nikki’s only problem. With Rook around, it’s more like babysitting than shadowing, as the reporter is forever ignoring commands and getting into trouble. And the worst part about it is that Nikki finds herself falling for the goofy, easy-going, if troublesome writer.
Overall, the story is great. As I expected from a Castle story, the crime mystery is well done, and all the clues and plot twists kept me guessing as to who was really orchestrating the crimes. There is plenty of action to keep the reader interested and a fair amount of suspense in certain parts of the book as well. Seeing as how I’m no detective, I can’t say anything about the accuracy of the facts, but what I can say is that, generally speaking, the explanations were believable and nicely woven into the plot so that the explanation at the end didn’t seem like an info dump.
The characters, too, were very nicely done, particularly toward the beginning of the story. Rook, the Castle character, is recognizably witty, and Nikki, the Beckette character, is as sarcastic and badass as ever. Esposito and Ryan are also present in the story as the hilarious and lovable duo, Ochoa and Raley, affectionately nicknamed Roach. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I found Ochoa and Raley to be the most endearing of all the characters in the book.
The humor was, in my opinion, by far the best aspect of Heat Wave. There was plenty of sarcasm and dry humor to be found throughout the story, and since this is my type of humor, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could hardly go more than a couple pages without laughing at something, be it a sarcastic remark by Nikki or the playful bickering between Raley and Ochoa. Rook, too, has quite a few scenes reminiscent of Castle in the TV show. Perhaps it was made all the more funny to me because of how familiar I already am with the characters, but I would like to think that the humor was something that anyone, even those unfamiliar with Castle, could enjoy.
Despite how much I loved the book, however, there were some things that I wasn’t too crazy about.
The first problem I noticed in Heat Wave was the way in which the opening scenes are set up. The story immediately plunges into the life of a detective and is riddled with cop jargon that I could only half understand. Furthermore, the scenes are constantly changing without breaks in between, so that toward the beginning I did have some difficulty figuring out when and where the characters were at any given time. Had it not been for the fact that I love Castle, I might not have been willing to continue reading the book simply due to the disorganization of the first chapter.
However, the biggest issue I took with the story was the sex aspect of it. It wasn’t even so much a problem for me that the two main characters, Nikki and Rook, had sex so much as it was the way in which the situation was handled. The sex scene stems not so much from an “I love you so I’m going to have sex with you” sort of situation so much as it stems from an “I’m in the passion of the moment so I’m going to have sex with you.” Given my own personal views, I wasn’t thrilled about this turn of events, but I was willing to give it some leeway. Until it changed the characters themselves, that is. Up until Nikki and Rook have sex, they are both entertaining and recognizable as characters from the TV show. However, post sex, everything seems to change. Nikki all at once becomes cold, and seems to go out of her way to annoy and, at times, even insult Rook. Rook, on the other hand, becomes little more than a moping, useless bump on a log who spends a lot of time worrying over Nikki’s feelings for him and very little time being useful to the team. It actually got to the point where I almost found the two characters to be annoying and when the whole situation starts up again at the end of the book, I actually did get slightly irritated at Nikki.
For what it’s worth, I really enjoyed Heat Wave. As for rating, I’d probably give it 4 out of 5 stars. If you like a good mystery, I’d say this book has what you’re looking for. And even toward the end of the book, despite my frustration with Nikki and Rook, there were still enough redeeming qualities about the story to make it an enjoyable read. For die-hard fans of the genre, I can’t say much. But for those of you who are looking for a nice, entertaining read, and especially if you are already a fan of Castle, I’d say this book is definitely worth a shot.