Heat Wave by Richard Castle
April 18, 2010

While traveling, I read Heat Wave, the novel by “Richard Castle“. I enjoyed it, since it’s just like an episode of the TV show.

Heat Wave cover
Heat Wave
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Jameson Rook (instead of Richard Castle) is a writer studying the NY police department. He’s a celebrity journalist instead of mystery novelist, so it’s considered background for an article instead of a book. Nikki Heat (instead of Kate Beckett) is the attractive, hard-shell cop he works with. There are two supporting detectives who wisecrack, Rook’s mother, an outspoken actress, and Nikki’s medical examiner friend who’s the only one she opens up to. No daughter mentioned, though.

The biggest difference from the show is that the book puts us in Nikki’s head. That means that we see her thinking about how she has to fight her attraction to Cook every so often. Which leads to, yes, the sex scene, another departure from what’s happened on TV so far. I liked getting more sense of Heat’s/Beckett’s character this way. Following her viewpoint is a fresh take, given that Beckett is so reserved and hidden (although she’s always the NY cop).

The book also portrays a couple of things that would be difficult/expensive/explicit for television, such as the swollen, bruised face of a post-plastic surgery-treatment trophy wife, and more drastically, an attempted rape scene in which Nikki fights off a huge bruiser while naked. The plot features the death of a real estate mogul with a $60 million art collection, a timely choice to tie into today’s economic worries. To justify the title, the city is in the midst of a blistering heat wave, although every time it’s mentioned how hot it is, I was surprised, since I’m used to seeing the characters bundled up in coats in the fall.

The book is set during the early days, while the characters aren’t sure what to think of each other, and before Castle/Rook knew of Beckett’s/Heat’s motivation to become a detective. It’s a brief, breezy read, perfect for vacation. I was impressed by how carefully they’ve handled the connections with the show. The dedication in the book is the same as they said it was on TV, as is the page number of the sex scene.

I’d love to know how well it reads for someone who doesn’t watch the show — but why would they pick it up? I wonder when/if the real author’s name is ever going to come out; apparently, it’s a well-kept secret among mystery writers and fans. Obviously, the book did well, since there’s a sequel, Naked Heat, due out in September, likely to tie into the upcoming third season of the TV show.

(Trivia: Dan Castellaneta has played Judge Markway on two episodes of Castle. In the book, there’s a bald judge in a yellow shirt whom Heat keeps thinking looks like Homer Simpson … a character who is voiced by Castellaneta. Fun connection!)

11 Responses  
Beau Smith writes:  

Looking forward to reading this and thanks for the heads up on it as well. Asa fan of the show I don’t want to miss this.

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch

Mike Kowalczyk writes:  

Glad to read that I am not the only one enjoying this show. I was wondering about the real author as well. Just need to find time to finish reading it!

Mike Kowalczyk

D. James Strosh writes:  

Though not confirmed by anyone at ABC or Hyperion, it looks like Tom Straw is the actual author of Heat Wave.


Kat Kan writes:  

As a fan of the show, I couldn’t resist picking up the book, and yes, it’s lots of fun.

Caleb writes:  

Ha, I worked at a library the week they advertised this on the show, and I had a whole bunch of requests for it, although we hadn’t ordered any copies for the library. I spent a good afternoon trying to figure out if it was actually a real book, or if the producers of the show just went to insane lengths to stunt-market the show through a fake version of a real book.

Anyway, should I check out the novel…or wait for a graphic novel adaptation?

Johanna writes:  

Very cool, James, thanks for telling me about that. Caleb, yeah, you should get the book. I’m not sure it would work as well as a graphic novel, because it wouldn’t have the space for as much dialogue or internal monologue, and it wouldn’t have the performances that underlie the appeal for me.

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