“Heat Wave” by Richard Castle (Hyperion, 2009)

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Richard Castle is the international bestselling author of the successful Storm series, featuring his heroic, recurring character, Derek Storm.  After publishing 25 books, Castle decided he’d had enough of this character and in his last book, Storm Fall, Derek Storm met his precisely timed end.  But Castle is back with a new book, possibly a new series, and a new and beautiful detective by the name of Nikki Heat.

In Heat Wave we meet Nikki Heat for the first time as she deals with a case of a New York real estate tycoon who has committed suicide by plunging to his death from the balcony of his high-rise home.  Heat skillfully examines the crime scene and soon puts the facts together: the man was murdered.  And so begins this fast-paced thriller as Heat puts the details and facts together, bringing her closer to finding out the identity of the killer.  But there is someone chasing her, looking to “get rid of her” before she gets too close.  Heat finds herself unavoidably partnered with a successful magazine journalist looking to research NYPD’s finest for an article.  While Heat finds Jameson Rook initially to be a waste of space, she finds herself attracted to him, and under all this pressure, Rook becomes a safe refuge in this “storm” of a case.

Castle does an impressive job of balancing the gritty, crime scene details; the crucial steps of an unsolved crime; along with some very human characters with some very human needs.  When Heat and Rook get together there is a tangible frisson that just leaps of the page, making readers hot and heavy under the collar.  Castle has admitted to doing some of his own research through working with NYPD, but one can’t help but wonder if Castle is getting up to anything like what Heat and Rook end up doing together.  One could blame it on the heat, but this reviewer thinks there’s something deeper going on here.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on September 29th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

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