Heat Wave, by Richard Castle:Book Review & Interview

Jan 22, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Contributors, Lorie Lewis Ham, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Lorie Lewis Ham

We have a bunch of mystery fun today-a book review of Heat Wave by Richard Castle, an interview with Richard Castle provided to us by the publisher of the Nikki Heat books, and a giveaway of a copy of “Heat Wave”–instructions on entering at the end of the interview. Enjoy!

First off I have to say that 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. 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.

In Heat Wave, a real estate tycoon is thrown off his balcony to his death and NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat is sent out to investigate. What is first thought to be a suicide quickly turns out to be a murder. The twists and turns of the murder include art theft, Polish gangsters, Nikki nearly being raped and killed, adultery, gambling debts, and much more. To further complicate Nikki’s ability to solve the murder, the commissioner assigns Pulitzer Prize winning magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her while he researches an article on the New York Police Department. While his meddling sometimes turns into helping, Nikki’s bigger problem is her growing attraction for a man she doesn’t want to like.

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, 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.

I look forward to reading the next book in this series, Naked Heat. Watch for a review here in the near future. I especially can’t wait to see what happens between Nikki and Rook!

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds.

Hyperion Books shared with KRL an interview they did with mystery author Richard Castle after the release of Heat Wave.


Richard Castle

HYPERION BOOKS: Your last book was pretty controversial. I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers here since this made newspaper headlines all across the country: You decided to kill off your most beloved character, Derrick Storm. A lot of your fans were outraged. What was the rationale behind killing off your main character? Was this something you’d planned since the start of the Storm series? Was it an emotional decision for you?

RICHARD CASTLE: I think the reason Derrick Storm is so beloved is that he lived the life we all wish for…danger, romance, adventure. And I loved writing him, but after so many books, I ended up knowing him too well. There were no more surprises for me. So rather than inflicting on him the slow death of literary mediocrity, I gave him the ending he deserved. Derrick went out in true Derrick Storm style, a man at the top of his game. It was obviously emotional to let go of him and he’s still very much a part of me. A handsome, charming, roguish part of me. But I know for a fact that he’d be a big fan of Nikki Heat and HEAT WAVE – particularly Nikki’s pose on the cover. Who wouldn’t be?

HB: Your new book features a female main character, NYPD detective Nikki Heat. Rumor has it that she’s based on the real-life NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett. In fact, you arranged for a series of official civilian ride-alongs with Beckett over the past few months to observe how she works and what goes into a real murder investigation. Were you surprised at all by anything you saw on your ride-alongs? What was your most eye-opening experience?

RC: My time with Detective Beckett and the other detectives in the 12th precinct has been very informative. For instance, I never knew how bad coffee could taste until I tried theirs. My admiration for the work police officers do has only grown from the experience, because I had no idea they were doing it while drinking such bad coffee.

As for the most eye-opening experience, rather than give away anything that ended up in
the book, I’ll simply say that being shot at is not as much fun as it looks in Tom Cruise movies.

HB: You originally met Detective Beckett when you were asked by the NYPD to consult on one of their cases, a series of copycat murders based on the murders in several of your novels, a series of murders that you were actually instrumental in helping to solve. As a writer, how did it affect you to have the line between imagination and reality blurred like that?

RC: Well, besides the fact that the killer focused on my truly lesser works, I was glad to be a part of the investigation. Ultimately, Detective Beckett was able to clear the name of a true fan, a man whom the killer set up to take the fall.

It was a fascinating case, and yet another example of how life can be stranger than fiction. In fact, if I’d written that story myself, everyone would accuse me of being self-
aggrandizing. And, clearly, I’d never want to do that…

HB: Has Detective Beckett read the manuscript for HEAT WAVE? If so, what was
her response?

RC: I haven’t had a chance to show Beckett the manuscript yet but I’m looking forward to hearing her thoughts. Hopefully it’ll live up to the high standards of thorough police work and professionalism that she’s established. As well as being, obviously, a sexy, exciting murder mystery with chills and thrills on every page.

I think she’ll like it. I hope she’ll like it. Oh God, what if she doesn’t like it? What if she
gets mad? Did I mention the sex scene?

HB: As a single dad, did your exposure to the reality of everyday violence make you worry more about raising your daughter in New York City? Did you ever discuss what you saw with her after your ride-alongs?

RC: I worry less about Alexis growing up in New York City than I do about her growing up with me. After all, given my line of work, our dinner table conversation usually centers around plot twists like whether a self-cleaning oven could incinerate a body. I do discuss cases with her sometimes, but I usually leave out the gory details.

Although she’s still my little girl, she’s a native New Yorker and has a great head on her
shoulders – I can only be thankful that she is far wiser than I was at her age.

HB: In your new book, HEAT WAVE, Detective Nikki Heat also has a ride-along civilian, journalist Jameson Rook. He is a bit of a smart-ass. How much of his personality is based on the real Rick Castle? (And are you really that much of a loveable smart-ass?)

RC: Rook? Castle? Absolutely no connection. Rook’s pretty cool though. I mean, the guy’s got a Pulitzer Prize! Plus, he’s so brilliant and handsome. Well, now that you mention it, maybe I did base him on someone…

As to whether I’m a lovable smart-ass, it depends on who you ask. My daughter thinks I’m lovable and smart. My exes just think I’m an ass.

HB: So ’fess up: Did you want to be a cop when you were a kid?

RC: Actually, I wanted to be a lion tamer or the ice cream man. How cool would that be?
Driving a funky truck and ringing a bell. Bringing joy and happiness to millions of kids. I
like to think of my books as little ice cream bars for my audience. That’s why the covers
are so colorful.

HB: The sense of place in your novels is powerful; the city of New York City comes
across almost like a character. What kind of relationship do you have to New York
City and how does that influence your writing?

RC: I love New York because it has all the contradictions of a truly fascinating
protagonist. Amazing wealth and utter poverty, noble intentions and terrible greed, young
love and age-old hatred living side by side. Plus, there’s a beautiful woman on every
street corner in this city. What more can a writer ask for?

HB: Will we be seeing more of Nikki Heat in future books?

RC: That’s up to the readers of America. I can only hope they’ll enjoy reading Nikki as
much as I’ve enjoyed writing her.

You can follow Castle on Facebook
and on Twitter @WriteRCastle

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 Heat Wave, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife.com with the subject line “Heat”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen next Saturday, January 29.


  1. I love to read this series. Can’t wait for the next book.

  2. I’ve always wanted to see New York but never made it. Maybe reading a book set there will help.

  3. Okay – I admit to being a full-fledged fan of Castle even though I am past the years that would bring delightful dreams of the dashing hero. I like Beckett, her character, her dedication. I like the other detectives and despite some rather obvious snaffoos of forensic science I like the ME. I am a mystery writer but follow more closely the ‘cozy’ style because of its comfort zone for me. Normally big city cops shows are not my cup of tea which goes to show that Castle has something for everyone, even us old folk.

  4. I don’t watch Castle as I don’t live in the U.S. (But, I do have a U.S. address for books to be sent to when I win!).

  5. I, too, love the TV show, but haven’t read any of the Castle books yet. Heat sounds like a fun read.

  6. Castle is one of the most fun police shows on T.V. I watch it every week.
    Come see me in “Born Yesterday @ 2nd Space Theatre. April 21st to June 12th and catch me during the “Rogue” in “The Godling” @ Brokenleg Stage

  7. Castle is also one of my must see shows. I DVR it, and watch when I can without interruptions or tiredness. Must admit, one of the main attractions for me is Nathan Fillion. Also loved him in the Firefly series and the Serenity movie. Fun interview and good review!


  8. I would love to read the book, Castle is an amazing show! I look forward it to every week!

  9. I love the tv show Castle. The interaction between Castle and Beckett is a great. I haven’t read the books because I didn’t know there were any books to accompany the series!

    • Thanks to everyone who commented! I LOVE Castle and it was a joy putting this together and reviewing the book. Due to some pet issues, I won’t be picking a winner until at least tomorrow so feel free to keep entering!
      Come back every week for more mystery fun!
      Lorie Ham, Publisher

  10. Thanks to all who entered! We have picked our winners and they have been emailed. Please keep coming back for more mystery fun and giveaways!
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

  11. Love the show can’t wait to read the book Heat Wave.



  1. Naked Heat by Richard Castle: Book Review/Interview/Giveaway | Kings River Life Magazine - [...] TV show Castle—it’s one of my few must see shows, so when I got the chance to review the…

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