Deadly Heat

by Richard Castle
ages: adult
First sentence: “NYPD Homicide detective Nikki Heat double-parked her gray Crown Victoria behind the coroner van and strode toward the pizza joint where a body waited.”
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Others in the series: Heat Wave,  Naked HeatHeat Rises, Frozen Heat

I’ve always kind of thought that you couldn’t pick up these books without having first watched the show. But, after finishing this one, I realized that really the only frame of reference you need is Frozen Heat. It picks up almost directly where that one leaves off, and ties most directly into it, giving us some nice loose ends all wrapped up.

Nikki knows who actually killed her mother. What she doesn’t know, is who called the shots. And that’s something she’s determined to do, even though the Department of Homeland Security Agents Bell (who happens to be Jameson Rook’s ex) and Callahan keep getting in her way. In addition, she’s faced with a serial killer, nicknamed Rainbow, who is playing games with her. And yes, she’s next on his list.

She’s also getting flack from her incompetent commander for juggling two cases, something which Nikki resents. But, determined as she is, she (and Rook, of course) doggedly persevere, and manage to solve the crimes in the end.

Much like season 5, this was a bit lighter, but also like Frozen Heat, it’s really it’s own beast now. I recognized a few plotlines from the season, but mostly, that’s not what I was reading this for. No, now I’m invested in Nikki Heat the character (not Nikki Heat as a reflection of the way Stana Katic plays Kate Beckett… man, that’s confusing!), and her own personal journey. And this one, I think it’s safe to say, is a pretty decent mystery. I suspected the end, though the clues were there, and if I had been paying attention I would have figured it out. I also liked the way the two storylines intersected in the end, and how they helped each other resolve. I liked that both Nikki and Rook had a chance to shine.

I’m sold on this as a series now, which means I’ll be sad if the show ever ends and these disappear. Unless, of course, the ghostwriter decides to keep it up. In that case, I’ll keep reading them.

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