Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Crashing Heat by Richard Castle

Sometimes it pays to open up those emails from GoodReads.

Would We Get Any More Books?

When the TV show Castle ended--still one of my all-time favorite shows--there was one more Richard Castle book already in the pipeline. That was HEAT STORM. As much as I enjoyed the shows and the real-life books that accompanied the series, I reckoned there would be no more.

Imagine my surprise when CRASHING HEAT showed up.

The Return of Nikki Heat

The Nikki Heat books are a good blend of twisty mysteries wrapped up in a set of characters enjoyable to be around. Where other books might draw you in based on the premise of the mystery, here, the mystery serves as a framework in which Nikki Heat and her husband, Jameson Rook, can interact. And this mystery is a doozy.

Rook, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, has been invited to spend a semester at his old alma mater as a writer-in-residence. Seeing as how this school largely shaped his own world view and career, Rook eagerly accepts.

Much to Nikki's chagrin. As the captain of the Twentieth Precinct, she can't just hop around, going wherever her globe-trotting beau goes. She has to stay at home in New York, missing him and trying to convince her heart and brain there's nothing to worry about. Even if Chloe Masterton, a young lady, a senior at that very school, cannot wait to meet the veteran journalist at a charity event. Chloe is, as Nikki dubs her, "the president of the Jameson Rook fan club." Rook assures Nikki her fears stand on nothing.

Then the call comes.

The Call That Changes Everything

A few weeks after his departure, Rook, with his usual bluster evaporated, calls Nikki and lets her know he's in trouble. It seems Chloe is dead, in his house, in his bed, naked. What would you think were you in Nikki's position?

Well, the trained detective is not going to let her husband's fate rest in the hands of small town cops, so she heads upstate to help.

What follows is a pretty standard mystery, the likes of which you'd have found on any random episode of the TV show Castle, from which these characters emerge. There's not a lot of twists and turns, but enough to make this book an enjoyable and welcome read. Narrator Robert Petkoff again nails the Nathan Fillion-like quality to his voice so much so that you'd almost guess it was the actor himself reading the novel.

Again, it's the interactions between the two leads that you're reading this book. Heck, you could probably just follow them around on a typical day, seeing them play off each other, and you'd probably enjoy the experience. In all these Nikki Heat novels, I've loved seeing their interplay, how it's grown and matured--mostly. Rook is still Rook, which means he's like the character Castle from the TV show, which means he's like star Nathan Fillion. And if Rook's Fillion, then Nikki's co-star Stana Katic. There's no point in trying not to see them at their charming best when reading this new novel.

CRASHING HEAT is a welcome surprise to the books of 2019, and I hope--just as I hoped when the last Nikki Heat novel was published--that there are a few more in the future. I'll always buy them on Day One, just as I have since 2009 when HEAT WAVE hit the shelves.

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@Barrie Summy


Jenn Jilks said...

I love a twisty mystery!!!!

Powell River Books said...

Sounds like my kind of book. It's been a very long time since I've read a mystery. - Margy

Barrie said...

First, what a fun surprise for you, finding Crashing Heat! Second, I always learn about more mysteries through you and Patti! Thank you for reviewing! This looks like a great series!

Scott D. Parker said...

Jenn - I don't often try to guess the culprit in mysteries, but the clues the author left in this novel are there, with just enough doubt to hide the true bad guy until close to the end.

Margy - If you know and enjoy the Castle TV, you'll enjoy these books. But I think they stand on their own pretty well.

Barrie - Thanks. That's the best thing about the Book Review Club: getting exposed to books outside of our normal reading.