Castle Book Review: A Raging Storm

“How many times can a man cheat death?”

When we left our hero back in May, Derrick Storm had solved one part of the kidnapping of Senator Thurston Windslow’s stepson, met Agent April Storms and watched as the senator had been assassinated in his own office.

The second in the three part series, A Raging Storm, opens exactly where A Brewing Storm left off. Windslow is dead in Storm’s arms and the assassin is still firing. Storm and Showers take control, saving the senator’s wife and the guilty party from the kidnapping. They very nearly catch the killer, but he or she gets away in the nick of time.

The plot thickens in this installment. It quickly becomes clear that both Jedidiah, Storm’s friend and mentor as well as a high level CIA agent, and the senator were involved with the Russians. Specifically, they have found themselves in the middle of a turf war between Barkovski, the Russian president, and Petrov, an oligarch worth as much as $60 billion.

There are two fundamental differences between these first two installments of the story. The first is that this one moves us out of DC and into both London and Moscow. The characters are still fairly stereotypical and one dimensional, but by having them be international, it adds a certain thriller flair that the first installment lacked.

The second difference is that this installment is much more about relationships than the first. We have Jedidiah and Storm, the father/son dynamic, both of whom trust no one but each other. We have Petrov and Barkovski, former best friends who are now out to get each other by any means necessary. Petrov surrounds himself with sycophants; Lebedev, his new best friend and partner, and Nab, his gorgeous, Croatian head of security.

Finally, we have Storm and Showers who have to travel to London together, an obvious set-up for a tryst while they are away. I was pleasantly surprised that the two did not sleep together, but there were a few scenes in which it is obvious that each is falling for the other.

Unlike the show, it is Storm alone who solves the murder of the senator. The denouement of the reveal of the killer was much better handled this time out and the clues were less obviously signposted. I was much further into the story this time before I had figured it out.

Yet again, we end on a cliffhanger. Both Storm, who has just had to kill, and Showers are very badly injured and gun shots are ringing out. There are also several major plot lines that are still unresolved.

These books are not the best written. The dialogue can be a bit stilted and forced; the plot itself is a bit mundane and overused; as I said above, the characters tend to be one-dimensional. There is one fun part, however, where Storm is remembering his “death.” “Storm had perished in the arms of Clara Strike. She’d watched in stunned disbelief as the light in his eyes dimmed. He’d reached out for her, and she had taken his hand, squeezing it for the very last time.” This is nearly verbatim what we hear Castle reading to his fans in "Hell Hath No Fury."

So, while not great literature, this book is a fun, quick read. Perfect for your summer vacation.

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