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VINE VOICEon 17 February 2010
HEAT WAVE is the novel that Richard Castle wrote in the series Castle: The Complete First Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC], starring Nikki Heat, based on detective Kate Beckett. The book is very nicely presently, being entirely in character from the author photo on the back cover (of Nathan Fillion) to the dedication to the acknowledgments, although the latter references the cast and the show's creators by name. It is just like having a prop from the show.

The story is about a rich New York business man who falls to his death from his apartment. The suspicious circumstances lead homicide detective Nikki Heat and journalist and ride-along, Jameson Rook into the world of high profile art theft and murder. The plot structure, style and humour, as well as the characters (although they have different names) are all exactly the same as the TV show, so fans will straight away be familiar with how it's supposed to feel and will love how you're actually reading what is being talked about in the show for nearly two seasons now. It is fairly fast-flowing once it gets going and although there are only a handful of characters who the culprit could be, the twist at the end was a good surprise for me.

Being a fan of CASTLE, I thought this book was great but it probably will only have a limited amount of appeal to people who have not seen the show. A good mystery with fun characters and decent writing, I hope there's a follow up or even better - we get the chance to read some of his Derek Storm novels!
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For a novel that is essentially nothing more than a piece glorified tie-in merchandising for the TV show Castle - Season 1, Heat Wave is surprisingly and pleasingly enjoyable. It would have been quitet easy for ABC, the home of Castle on US TV, and the publishers to simply produce a lazyily written knock-off to cash in on the 12 million viewers the show gets every week. Rather like the programme that spawned it however, Heat Wave has overcome the disadvantages of its lowly origins to actually be a pretty decent detective mystery.

Not that its going to win any literary awards or prizes for originality. This is very much a straight, no frills murder-mystery detective story. Its convoluted enough to keep you gripped, even if the identity of the ultimate culprit does become obvious some time before its revealed. The character interplay is engaging and the New York locales are given just enough colour. Whoever they hired to ghost write the book has done a solid if unspectacular job. Under normal circumstances it would easily grab a three star rating.

What elevates it to a four star novel for me, and probably for any other fans of the TV show, is the way it riffs on the (fictional) world of Richard Castle, Kate Beckett and their friends, colleagues and families. A large part of the fun when reading Heat Wave is comparing Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook with their 'real life' counterparts and seeing how they differ. In many respects they are the same characters and Heat Wave is essentially an extended episode of Castle in book form, but there are some significant differences that separate the novel from its source material. Its also fun to try and pick out the sections of the book that have been refered to directly by characters during CASTLE: COMPLETE SECOND SEASON, which is set after Heat Wave's fictional publication.

So if you're a fan of Castle (as of March 2011 its shown on the 'Alibi' TV channel in the UK) then like me Heat Wave will really appeal. If you've never caught the show however, it offers enough entertainment value as a standalone piece of detective fiction to be worth trying. It might also sell you on trying the show that spawned it.
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on 24 January 2012
I am a great fan of the Castle series on TV which features an author, named Richard Castle, who is teamed up with a female cop, named Beckett. In the series Castle publishes three books with Nikki Heat (based on Beckett) as the main character. So when I saw that there actually were three Nikki Heat books on Amazon I had to try them. What a disappointment. The plot was reasonable, likewise the action, but the characters - oh dear, they were dire. They never came to life and seemed like puppets carrying out the motions. As Richard Castle is a fictional character I checked out the copyright which was ABC Studios and I reckon the books must have been written by a ghost writer or a script writer, but certainly not by any novelist worth his or her salt. I certainly won't be buying the other two books, although I will continue to watch the tV series.
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on 29 January 2013
Let me begin by saying that I am a fan of the CASTLE television series. It is a cheeky, and sometimes cheesy bit of fluff that is pure entertainment. The viewer is not supposed to examine the "facts" of each weekly offering too closely nor try to utilize logic. This is just a show where you sit back and enjoy the silly banter of the cast and the sexual tension exuding from the two protagonists as they attempt to solve their latest case.

HEAT WAVE capitalizes on the popularity of the television show and follows the same formula that made the show a success. Unfortunately, what plays well on the small screen does not necessarily translate to the page with the same panache.

While the book does have a couple of amusing exchanges between our two protagonists, I believe if one has never seen the show and has no point of reference, this story of the murdered real-estate tycoon and his trophy wife would have found its way to the "remainders" bin within a month of publication.

My recommendation: If you want to be entertained for an hour, sit back and watch the show, pass on this book and devote your time to more informative and interesting reading material. If you feel compelled to read this offering, save your money and get it at the library.
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New York City is suffering from record breaking heat when Matthew Starr jumps to his death from his luxury condo. NYPD detective Nikki Heat quickly determines that it was murder. And since Matthew was one of the richest developers in the city, the case will be a top priority.

Only Nikki quickly discovers that Matthew wasn't as well off as everyone thought he was. As the secrets come out, Nikki begins to find multiple motives. Then her own life is threatened. Can she solve the crime before another attempt is made?

It's always a danger killing off a popular character, but if that's what it took to give us this new book, than I am glad Richard Castle took that risk....

Okay, okay, so the whole Richard Castle thing is not true. This book is really a very cleverly done tie in to the ABC show Castle. Heck, the author photo on the back of the book is actor who plays him on the show. And the blurbs are from authors who have appeared on the show. Frankly, this fan couldn't stop laughing at the similarities.

Those similarities continue on to the characters. Nikki Heat is being shadowed by a news reporter for an in depth feature on the police force. The other detectives are quite obviously based on the characters in the show.

However, I must wonder just how much non-fans of the show would appreciate things. I got lots of humor from characters and comparing the two. If I didn't know the show, I wouldn't have found it amusing at all.

The plot holds together reasonably well. The beginning of the book was overwritten, however. Some of those sentences got in the way of actually understanding the description. Things did get better as the book progressed, fortunately.

Fans of the TV show will get a kick out of this book, especially with how they've been advertising it on the show. Others might enjoy it, but they won't get the same kick out of it I did.
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on 6 July 2011
To be honest, I'd never realised there truly was a Richard Castle book called Heat Wave and if I had, I probably wouldn't have taken the trouble to pick it up. So when Wiebe found it and its sequel Naked Heat at Forbidden Planet and wanted to get them, I was a bit confused, but intrigued nonetheless and into the shopping basket they went. Castle, starring the fabulous Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, is one of the few TV shows Wiebe and I make sure to watch together every week or at least record to watch later. So I could see why he wanted to read the books. And after he flew through them in a weekend, I decided I'd have to read them for myself as well.

Heat Wave is a gimmick novel, the one Castle writes about Beckett in the TV show. As such it's hard to disassociate the characters in the book from those in the TV show. In fact reading Heat Wave is much like watching an alternate reality episode of Castle in your head, one in which the fans do get the romance they've been denied in the TV show--at least so far as I've seen the show and we're a little behind here in The Netherlands. I'd imagine though, that while they might miss the little in-jokes, that people who haven't watched the show would be able to understand and appreciate the characters for who and what they are as written in the book.

The book itself isn't high-flying: the prose is workman-like and the plot is competent, but not brilliant. What this book is though, is fun! There is lots of snark and the same witty banter viewers of Castle might recognise as the show's stock in trade. Heat Wave is written from Nikki Heat's viewpoint and it's fun to have "Beckett's" point-of-view, although we're ever conscious that we're not hitching a ride in Beckett's head, but in Castle's version of Beckett. This consciousness comes mainly from the fact that in Jameson Rook we have Castle's alter ego, who clearly is is Castle-inspired, but also clearly isn't Castle; he doesn't have a wise-beyond-her-years teen daughter for one and his mum doesn't live in either. Heat's two detectives, Ochoa and Raley, affectionately nicknamed Roach, are adorable. That's probably a too cutesy word to suit their tastes, but it's what comes to mind. They're like an old married couple and best friends at the same time and I loved them.

The relatively short book is an easy read, that just keeps you turning pages. No, it isn't the next big crime bestseller, but Heat Wave does exactly what it was meant to do, in my opinion, it truly entertains and it forms an admirable companion piece to the TV show. It's a book for the true Castle fan or as a fun and light beach read for a crime fiction lover.
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on 26 November 2012
If you like Castle the TV series, you will probably like the book. Many of the episodes are scavenged to produce the book as they would have been if Castle had used his experiences to write the best seller. Very cleverly done and thoroughly enjoyable.
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I'm not a huge fan of tie-in fiction. That's not to say I dislike it, just that I don't actively seek it out when it comes to my reading choices. There are always going to be exceptions to every rule and I think that the writing of one Richard Castle may just be that exception.

For those uninitiated I'll try and explain. Castle is an American television show which features a crime writer, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), who assists the police with their cases while shadowing them for book research. He is partnered with a feisty female detective, Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), and their relationship/chemistry is the backbone of the show. The performances are sublime and the show has been justifiably successful. Rather than create tie-fiction that is based on the characters in the show the publishers have taken the innovative approach of producing novels that are written by the lead character. Why not? He is supposed to be a world famous novelist after all. Heat Wave has been name-checked many times in various episodes and it is a fun idea. Fans of the show can now read the novels that Castle has written.

I'm going to work on the assumption that the television show is a known quantity to the reader. Working on that basis, everyone is in going to be in on the joke from page one, and as they read along there will be many knowing smiles. You will spot many references taken directly from the screen version. The success of a novel like this cannot just be judged on the quality of the writing and enjoyment of the story, you also have to factor in the authenticity. Based on what you've already learned as a viewer of the television drama does this feel the way you would expect Castle to write? Personally, I was sold. The sardonic one liners and verbal sparring that I would expect from the character(s) are all present and correct.

What is the best way to describe experience of reading Castle's work? Take everything you know about the TV characters and enhance by a factor of ten. The television version Castle has made no secret that Nikki Heat is an amped up version of his muse, Kate Beckett. Reading the novel it is also blatantly obvious that Jameson Rook is a larger than life take on Richard Castle. All the other characters from the show make an appearance and it is a real treat to read Castle's tweaked caricatures of them.

Whenever the TV show mentions the novel Heat Wave, it made quite clear that Rook and Heat have a physical relationship, which is a definite bit of wish-fulfilment on the fictional author's part. Also, the language used is a bit more adult than you would have experienced from the TV Castle. This doesn't bother me in the slightest, but the more delicate amongst you please take note.

The plot zips along at a brisk pace and there is plenty that will please readers of this solid police drama, as well as fans of the TV show. Perhaps not the most original in places, but it certainly serves the characters well and allows them all to shine. The key thing is that it all sounds and feels exactly the way I would expect it to be. Nikki Heat gets the chance to hunt down the bad guys, and Jameson Rook gets the opportunity to complicate and assist in equal measure.

I do have one minor technical criticism that niggled slightly. It could be just me but I found the text in the book quite small, certainly smaller than I expected. This did slow my pace somewhat. In fairness however, I should point out that they have remedied this in subsequent releases.

I'll be honest and admit this purchase was a bit of a no-brainer for me. Even if the novel had been terrible, which it's not, I would have bought it anyway. It's Nikki Heat for goodness sakes! Written by Richard Castle! My single technical gripe aside, there is nothing I can fault in the writing and production of this novel. The attention to detail is perfect. A sample chapter of the next novel, an interview with the author, even an author bio and acknowledgments. It is all done in flawless tongue-in-cheek fashion. It turns out that a fictional television author writing fictional novels can be a heck of a lot of fun.

As a final aside - a second novel, Naked Heat, is already available. It features a picture of the author in the dust-jacket and I have to say he does appear to be ruggedly handsome.
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on 27 June 2011
Now I want to say straight away: if you are not a fan of the show Castle, then you will consider this to be a slightly shallow and easy crime novel.

But if you love the show as I do, this novel is a piece of genius! Everything about it matches up to the book that the fictional Richard Castle writes and it is funny to see the comparisons between the characters of Heat and Rook to the characters of Beckett and Castle (anybody else just wish they'd get it together?) Even the endorsements from real authors (who have all been on the show) is just brilliant.

As to the content of the book, it is a rather easy crime novel based on the murder/suicide of a millionaire who falls from his balcony. The novel revolves around the chemistry of Heat and Rook who work together to try and solve the crime.

All in all, I would say only buy this book if you are a fan of the show. You will get so much more out of it that way.
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on 22 December 2014
Not sure why this book was written apart from the obvious monetary advantages. It reads like a roughly converted screenplay with characters jumping from one location to another in the space of a sentence. The plot would make a good tv episode but is missing something as a book. There is little character development and because of that i automatically pictured the television characters instead of being able to imagine new ones, but why bother? They are almost exactly the same. Won't bother buying another but might just go catch up on the show. Overall it is a more entertaining way to spend an hour or two.
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