by Lorie Lewis Ham
This week we have a review of Naked Heat, the latest Richard Castle mystery novel featuring NYPD homicide detective Nikki Heat. We also get to learn some of Castle’s thoughts on this book in an interview with him, provided to us by his publisher. At the end of the interview there are instructions on how to enter for a chance to win a copy of Naked Heat!
As I have mentioned many times here at KRL, I am a huge fan of the TV show Castle—it’s one of my few must see shows, so when I got the chance to review the book
Heat Wave I was excited. And when I got a chance to review Naked Heat, I couldn’t wait to sit down and read the book. On the ABC show Castle (check out my review of the show here at KRL), Richard Castle is a mystery writer who gets to shadow Homicide Detective Kate Beckett while creating a new character, Nikki Heat, based on Beckett. Heat Wave is the first book by Richard Castle in this new series of books and Naked Heat is the latest. A brand new book, Heat Rises, is coming out in September of 2011.
In Naked Heat a famous, and infamous, gossip columnist is found murdered in her apartment. Much to her surprise and dismay, who does Nikki run into at the crime scene? None other than journalist Jameson Rook. Nikki is not happy with him as they seemed to be building a relationship and then suddenly he was gone, and she does not like the attention she is getting because of the article he wrote about her and her squad. So he is not greeted with the warm reception he had expected.
Rook is on the scene because he was writing an article about the columnist, Cassidy Towne. Because of his intimate knowledge of the murder victim, Nikki reluctantly allows Rook to follow along and help with the case. The list of suspects is quite long as Cassidy revealed secrets about celebrity’s of all kinds, making many enemies. When more bodies start showing up with no apparent connection to Towne, yet similarities in the way they were tortured before they were killed, things get even more complicated. Throw in a rock star, baseball star and a dead actor, and the suspect list becomes very interesting.
This book has a little of everything—action, kidnapping, drugs, torture, a missing manuscript, an illegitimate daughter and even a coyote. But the best part for me was the banter between Rook and Heat, and the other members of her team. Will things heat back up for Rook and Heat, or will he continue to get the freeze? Read the book and find out.
If you are a fan of the TV show, you will enjoy the similarity between the characters in the book to those on the show—though Rook doesn’t quite seem to be Castle he seems more like him in this second book and the rest are very much like their TV counterparts. And if you don’t watch Castle (come on, how could you not watch?), you will still enjoy this book as a well-written mystery novel with plenty of twists, turns, action, suspense and great characters.
Highly recommend this book-while I enjoyed the first one, this one is even better! Can’t wait for Heat Rises! Check out Castle’s brand new website!
A CONVERSATION WITH RICHARD CASTLE
AUTHOR OF NAKED HEAT
HYPERION BOOKS: Your last book, HEAT WAVE, was a surprise success, landing on The New York Times bestsellers list for sixteen weeks. Fans of your Derrick Storm novels had
been so upset that you killed him off, and it wasn’t clear that they would take to your new character, NYPD detective Nikki Heat. Were you surprised?
RICHARD CASTLE: You’d think with the number of bestsellers I’ve published that I’d
expect success, but being a writer and by nature insecure about my work, it’s always a surprise and delight to discover that the audience is responding to your work. Especially when you’re introducing them to a new character.
HB: NAKED HEAT opens with Nikki Heat running into Jameson Rook at a crime scene, shortly after their fictional romantic relationship, which began in HEAT WAVE, abruptly ended. Since Nikki Heat is based on the real-life NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett, how does she feel about the artistic and sexual liberties you’re taking on the page with her alter ego?
RC: Wow. You make it sound so dirty. Probably because it is. Honestly, I’m just giving my readers what I think they want. I’d like to think she gets a little thrill out of it, but she’s very good at not telling me what she thinks.
HB: However you did convince Detective Beckett to read an excerpt from NAKED HEAT with you at Comic-Con this summer. You two brought the house down! Has she read the entire book, and what did she think?
RC: How do I convince anyone of anything? I use my wit, my charm and I blackmail them with embarrassing photos. She hasn’t read the entire book yet. I know this because when she does, she’s going to be mad about a few things. I’m sure I’ll hear from her soon.
HB: You met Beckett when you were doing ride-alongs with her squad for research. What inspired you to base your new character on her? And, is part of your reason for continuing to work at the Twelfth Precinct as a civilian journalist so you have the opportunity to wear Beckett down with your charm, wit, and charisma?
RC: I first met Detective Beckett on a murder investigation tracking down a killer who was copycatting murder scenes from my books. I became enamored with her investigative talents and immediately wanted to know more about her. She was unlike any cop I’d ever met. I think part of my attraction to her, as a source material for my books, is how little we see of her on the surface but how much of her there is that remains to be discovered lurking below. She’s always surprising.
HB: The action in NAKED HEAT stems from the murder of New York’s most vicious gossip columnist. It turns out that many people wanted her dead. Why did you decide to fictionally off a celebrity journalist? Can one conclude that even you have a love/hate relationship with the press?
RC: I miss the days of real news reporting. We live in the world of info-tainment, where the activities of celebrities are deemed more important by the press than the suffering and tragedy of more anonymous people across the globe. It’s really quite tragic. That being said, it’s fun to air out other people’s dirty laundry, and killing a celebrity journalist allowed me to take stabs not just at the press, but at celebrities as well.
HB: You play poker with some of America’s top crime writers—James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Stephen J. Cannell. Do you ever use plot or character suggestions from them in your writing? Who’s the best poker player? The best bluffer?
RC:We trade plot twists and story ideas all the time. Patterson’s the best bluffer because he has the most money and can afford to lose.
HB: The sense of place in your novels is powerful; the city of New York comes across almost like a character with such a vast array of people and settings. What kind of relationship do you have to New York City and its residents, and how does that influence your writing?
RC: I love New York. It’s the most magical city in the world. No other city is filled with so much energy and excitement, and so many different cultures and sub-cultures. It provides rich material to draw from.
HB: Now that you signed a three-book deal last season, will there be more Nikki Heat titles, or are you searching for a new main character?
RC: I love writing Nikki. I’ve been toying with some other projects, but nothing that would make me abandon Nikki Heat. I hope to be writing Nikki Heat stories for many years to come.
Check out KRL’s review of the TV show Castle, featuring the character of mystery author Richard Castle.
To enter to win a copy of Naked Heat, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Heat”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen next Saturday, May 7.