Detective Nikki Heat isn’t having a great morning. She’s been called to a murder scene that’s even less pleasant than usual thanks to a citywide garbage strike, she hasn’t had her morning coffee yet, and she’s getting lots of attention, not all of it welcome, because of a magazine story about her. And she doesn’t even have the consolation of hot sex with the story’s writer, Jameson Rook, because she broke up with Rook after the magazine hit the stands.
But when Heat gets a call alerting her to the murder of a gossip columnist, who should she find at the murder scene but Rook, who’s got some explaining to do. Together Heat and Rook unravel a mystery that includes a trashy pop singer, a famous baseball player, and a nasty fellow who likes to torture people with dental instruments – and along the way they rekindle their relationship in a big way.
Naked Heat, the second tie-in book for the show Castle, is definitely an improvement on its predecessor. It feels like a real novel, rather than a TV-show-in-novel-form (and one cobbled together in about a month to boot). While it would stand alone reasonably well, it will be most satisfying for fans of the show, not just for its characters and their dynamics, which mirror the show, but for the numerous call-backs to events in the show’s second season. Remember when Castle had himself duct-taped to a chair to research how a person could escape? The novel’s best suspense scene has Detective Heat duct-taped to a chair, trying to break free before the bad guy shows up to torture her. Remember Demming, the 11th-hour love interest who was Castle’s rival? Naked Heat has a “Detective Schlemming”, a doofus who crashed his car while trying to shoo away a bee. And of course there’s the enjoyable banter and sexy times with Heat and Rook.
As mysteries go it’s a decent read, nothing that will keep you up til the wee hours in desperation to find out what happens next, but enjoyable enough for a day or two reading at the beach. It will be best enjoyed by fans of the show, and I’d recommend doing what I did and saving it til the summer hiatus (because I don’t know about you but I’m ready for season 4).
And the best news is that there’ll be another book, Heat Rises, due out this fall. More Castle-y goodness!
Like the author photo, too. It’s easy on the eyes.