Castle is a popular Amercian police procedural drama, starring Nathan “Firefly” Fillion as a crime writer, which frequently features genre references and meta-humour. Part of the show’s gimmick is that Castle uses his adventures with the New York Police Department as inspiration for his novels. Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, these books are ghost written and sold to eager fans. Raging Heat is the sixth such book (it even features a picture of Fillion on the back as Castle).
Raging Heat starts off like most good crime novels; with a dramatic and suspicious death. A Haitian immigrant is found dead in the planetarium and it seems he’s been pushed from a passing plane. Once again, Detective Nikk Heat must team up with Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist Jameson Rook to fight crime and bring the killer to justice. Things go wrong when Heat and Rook disagree about the details of the case, and Rook becomes convinced that Heat has the wrong suspect in custody. In the background, a hurricane is about to hit New York.
If you’ve seen the TV show, you immediately (and correctly) assume that these are fictionalised versions of Richard Castle and Detective Kate Beckett. This helps with the book’s immersion; you’ll recognise most of the main cast very quickly and the author plays with your expectations a little. Those who haven’t seen the show shouldn’t worry, however, as the protagonists aren’t terribly complex.
The book does things that the show could never do; for a start Rook does his own stunts and there is a very nicely done sex scene in the middle. In many ways, this is a by-the-numbers crime thriller. This makes sense as the character of Richard Castle is meant to be a very successful creator of airport thrillers (no one pretends that he’s highbrow, except maybe Richard himself). It is a little too knowing in places; the ghostwriter knows that this is meant to be a bit cliché and can’t resist playing around with this. This is what makes it fun and even non-fans will get a sly laugh at some of the key scenes. If you’re looking for steamy thriller for a long plane journey (and something to read casually whilst lazing in the sun) then this is ideal, especially if you’re a fan of the show.
INFO: RAGING HEAT / AUTHOR: RICHARD CASTLE / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW