For the third bonus book, I read Heat Wave by Richard Castle. Potato-chip book! This one is longer than the Derek Storm novels, being all of two hundred pages.
I’m not sure what there is to say about this book. If you’ve watched the TV show, Castle, you know what this book is like. All the main characters from the show are there, and the ghost writer doesn’t really flesh them out much. The main trouble I had with it is that, were I not a regular viewer of the show, I wouldn’t have a very good idea about any of the characters other than Nikki, and possibly Rook. Yes, we get names and a very brief description, but that’s it. Considerably more work goes into the victim’s description and one or two of the suspects than supporting characters.
Additionally, the story is ultimately forgettable to someone who (like me) consumes a lot of mysteries and thrillers. It’s the same setup, more or less: body is discovered, heroes swoop in to investigate, obstruction of justice and obscuring of the truth by witnesses/family/friends, eventual brilliant deduction shows the glaringly obvious solution that has been staring them in the face all this time, heroes swoop in again to nab the killer before he/she escapes/kills again, killer pours out an entire confession almost unasked, tidy wrap-up for the viewers at home. I find that the difference between this formula in book form versus the TV show is that on the show, there are so many more entertaining moments that set the show apart from simply being a police procedural drama. Castle and Law & Order are both police procedurals, but they are completely different; L&O has its moments of levity, but Castle openly pokes fun at itself and the genre as a whole, panders to its geeky fanbase, includes inside jokes relevant to the actors/guest stars, and though it never takes itself too seriously still manages to achieve tragic and tender moments that ring true despite the comedy.
Unfortunately, the Heat novels don’t take the same liberties as the show. This is understandable, given that Richard Castle doesn’t actually exist, and while the character might be a geek with child-like enthusiasm, his novels aren’t comedies. He writes thrillers and mysteries, which places this imaginary writer’s books squarely in the wish-fulfillment fantasy area of crime and detective fiction, a very populous place already. That said, the book is still an entertaining enough read if you don’t expect very much from it, and being that I happen to be a Castle (and Nathan Fillion) fangirl, I don’t mind paying regular price for what is essentially a sort of meta, canon, officially-licensed fan-fiction.
Nearly three months later, however, I can’t tell you what the plot was even if my life depended on it.