Heat Wave by Richard Castle – A review

Heat Wave
Heat Wave

This book  is a tie-in to the ABC television series Castle. The supposed “author” of this book is the lead character in the series, a writer. Interestingly, the book itself is playing a role in this season’s episodes.

First, let me start by saying that I am a HUGE fan of the TV series. I think that it is one of the smartest show to come out on television over the past couple of seasons. And as a tie-in for the series, it works quite well on a lot of levels.

Anyone who has watched the series will recognize the characters in the novel as based on the series regulars.  There are situations and lines of dialogue in the book that are verbatim from the show–deliberately, I presume, as the lines feel like an “inside joke” for the benefit of fans of the show. The characters  (especially protagonist Nikki Heat) are sexier than their TV counterparts and really feel like characters Castle might have written.

I really thought that the plot of the mystery in the novel could have been better.  On the series, the police cases are generally tightly written. In the book, the case is not as well focused.  The end feels rushed and the finer points are not clearly explained.  There were also areas where abreviations  and acronyms were used that, to me at least, the meaning wasn’t obvious. Most of these seemed to pertain to New York City.

The grammar and writing style were also not at a level that most would expect from Richard Castle. Castle’s character has been established on the series as being  an excellent writer with a keen command of language usage and grammar. The novel has some grammar errors (a few that are glaring) and the writing style is not what I’d expect from a character that is supposed to be a seasoned professional writer.

I had heard a rumor that this book was actually written by the show’s writers, who were in a rush trying to get the writing done for both the book and season two of the series.  If true, this may explain some of the book’s shortcomings.

If you are a diehard fan of the Castle TV series, you will probably find this book enjoyable, especially as it ties in to the storyline in season two. If you have never watched the show and are instead looking for a good mystery to read, this probably is not the book for you. You can read samples from the novel on ABC’s website.

Heat Wave is available in an edition for the Kindle. An audio book is also available at a very reasonable price, although it is not narrated by Nathan Fillion, who plays the author on the series.

UPDATE:  The paperback will be available on July 27, 2010.

Peace Love and Murder by Nancy Holzner- A Review

Peace, Love and Murder
Peace, Love and Murder

As a long time fan of mysteries, there are a few things that are important to me when I read one.  First, I want original characters that I can care about who are also realistic and believable.  I want a storyline that is keeps both the action and the suspense going.  I don’t want to be distracted by needless details, but I also don’t want to know “whodunit” halfway through the book.  I most certainly want to enjoy the journey. Peace, Love, and Murder delivers on all counts.

The story elements are original and intriguing, combining hippies, communes, cab drivers and murder. This unlikely combination sets the stage for a delightful mystery.  It is an enjoyable story with interesting characters that are neither stereotypic nor predictable. The storyline keeps both the action and the suspense going, and it held my interest all the way through.

Ms. Holzner writes with an exceptionally clear voice and in a style that is a delight to read. The main character’s background gives the novel an interesting twist. I found myself wanting to know more about these characters (especially Bo and Trudy), and am looking forward to the sequel.

 This is not yet available as a Kindle or eBook version  and no word yet on when or if  it will be available in those formats.

The author is also coming out with the first book in an urban fantasy series, Deadtown, at the end of this year.  If Peace, Love and Murder is any indication of her fiction writing talent, Deadtown should be a most enjoyable read, one I am looking forward to.

 You can read more about Nancy Holzner on her blog. There, she provides some interesting tips and insights into her own writing process.

Disclaimer: An advance reading copy of this book was provided by the author. My opinions are strictly my own and not influenced by being provided a copy of the book.