by Richard Castle
First sentence: “Nikki Heat pondered red lights and why they seemed to las so much longer when there was no traffic.”
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Oh, you knew this review was coming.
I figured, since I’ve already caved into the publicity machine that is ABC, and the meta-ness of it all (and am really kind of finding it all fun and games), what the heck. Why not read the second one?
Besides, it’s a really good book to read when I’m on the elliptical at the gym: engaging, but not hard to follow.
As far as the book itself: I think it holds up better than the first book as a novel. Sure, it’s still in-jokes from the series (the book opener is lifted pretty much straight from the season 3 TV opener), and the basic plot lifts from a few episodes of season 2 Castle. The murder is of a gossip columnist, which ends up being a triple murder/suicide. There’s some nice twists and turns in the plot, and the outcome didn’t really become obvious until nearly the end. It was plotted much more evenly as well; it was more character- and plot-driven, and relied less on the reader knowing the background of the show. This is a book I could see non-Castle fans picking up and actually liking on its own terms. That’s not to say there isn’t the jabs and in-jokes (in fact, what made me laugh the hardest was the moonlighting profession they assigned to Jameson Rook. Too, too perfect).
Additionally, it’s much less about wish-fulfillment on the part of Castle, the character, and more about getting the story across. In other words, Nikki comes off as more of a real character this time — she’s smart and resourceful (and remember that episode where Castle has Alexis duct tape him to the chair? That’s important.) and while she does a lot of saving Castle’s butt (coming to his rescue at least twice), they’re also working more as a team than they did in the first book. The sex is dialed way back (though there is a couple of scenes; they are just briefer and less “steamy”), and it’s more about building an actual relationship between the two characters.
So, the discussion I ended up in with Hubby was about whether or not there will be more. On the show, they’ve kind of abandoned Castle’s premise for following Beckett around, and — if I remember right — he’s not done much writing this season. So, is ABC going to keep churning out the Nikki Heat books if there’s no reference to them in the show? Hubby seems to think that they could put out as many as they like independent of the TV show, but I think that the books lose much of their charm if you divorce them from the fun of the weekly episodes. Either way, I’ll probably keep reading them until they stop being brain candy.