Cannonball Read IV: Heat Rises by Richard Castle
One of my television guilty pleasures is "Castle" on ABC. Yes, it has its issues with formula episodes and sometimes rather cheesy plots, but it's mostly just fun. I still think ABC having a ghost writer create these books is a fantastic marketing move, and Heat Rises is the third book of the Nikki Heat series, "written" by Richard Castle. As a tie-in to a network TV show it does its job well by referencing events and mirroring character traits. As a standalone crime novel, I found the mystery to be very compelling, although at times confusing.
We begin with Jameson Rook being gone on a long research trip, and Nikki Heat missing him but questioning the nature of their relationship. She also recently took the written portion of the Lieutenant's exam looking for the rare promotion and pay increase. Nikki and her force are soon called to check on a murdered priest found in a bondage club.
The priest is really only a catalyst to the twisting mystery and plot lines in this novel. There is corruption, entanglements, more murder, relationships, revenge and politics playing roles in the investigation. I find the book really hits the mark when Nikki is removed from duty and partners with Rook to work the investigation unofficially. In the end loose ends are tied up (with the exception of the cliffhanger) and Nikki remembers who she works for: the Victim.
My guess is that the ghost writer of the second book returned for the third. The first Nikki Heat book, Heat Wave was a fun romp and fluff. These last two books have been more serious mystery novels with detailed action writing and steamy foreplay and afterglow, which remind me of the Michael Connelly books I've read. Even with a more serious tone the Richard Castle books are a pleasure.
(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)