I was beyond excited when I heard about this book. I know that it is completely gimmicky, but the marketing genius behind it is fantastic: release the fictional novel in the popular ABC police comedy/drama Castle as a real one. Talk about score –not only does the novel already have a built-in fan base as well as already-existing hype and advertising (the show itself) but it fits in with the nature of the show perfectly. The popularity of Heat Wave (it was a New York Times Bestseller!) shows just how much America is in love with Rick Castle.
ABC even went to great lengths to make the book seem “real.” Nathan Fillion’s picture is on the back cover of the book as “Richard Castle” complete with bio. According to a friend in LA who attended, ABC held a book signing of Heat Wave, and Fillion appeared in character (from what I’ve heard, he was hilarious).
I wouldn’t say that I was disappointed in this book though –just not impressed.
The good: the story is fast-paced and Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook are easily recognizable as Detective Kate Beckett and Castle (come on, the guy’s name is ‘Rook’). The writing can seem a little elementary at times, but fits into the pulpy, suspense-thriller novel genre a la James Patterson perfectly. The novel also allows ABC to do some things with the Castle “universe” that they can’t do on broadcast TV –like curse or include little adult comments from/about characters. While Heat’s character is a little more fantasized version of Beckett, I thought Heat Wave helped give some additional insight into Beckett’s character.
The bad: while Heat Wave was shown as a massive novel in the series, it’s only 200 pages. I felt like it was simply too short and just read as an extended episode of the series (even though it plays like a movie in your mind when you read it)–I was hoping that it would go more in-depth and give more insight into characters and situations. I also think that this book wouldn’t be able to stand-alone very well without the TV series. Heat and Rook feel like relatively flat characters without previous knowledge of Beckett or Castle to back them up.
I wouldn’t say it was a horrible book, but I was just looking for more. In the Castle cannon this book was meant to launch a new character and a new series, but in reality it tends to feel like an extra element tacked onto the TV show.