Castle Book Review: Unholy Storm

"I make it a point not to trust anyone covered in blood."

After losing his money and his yacht, Derrick Storm is back to being a private investigator. Young women, the daughters of powerful businessmen, are being killed. The only clue is a strange symbol drawn in their blood. The family of the fourth victim hire Storm to find out what is happening to these girls. He quickly enlists the help of his CIA contact, Clara Strike.

The symbol turns out to be that of Lenglensou, a powerful spirit who punishes those who do not keep voodoo secrets. Tracking down the guilty party takes Storm and Strike from New Orleans to Haiti to Los Angeles. Along the way, they run into voodoo rituals, zombies, and animal sacrifices. Of course, like a good episode of Castle, the guilty party is all too human.

Unlike the traditional Storm and Nikki Heat novels, the author of this one, Cullen Bunn, is credited. I mention this because the voice of the graphic novels is significantly different from the traditional Storm novels. One could argue that it is the difference in time. The graphic novels are Derrick Storm before Castle killed him off; the traditional novels are after his resurrection.

The differences are marked, however. In the graphic novels, Storm is less self-assured, snarkier, and generally less bad-ass than he is in the traditional novels. He is still a very capable private investigator, but he lacks the James Bond characteristics he has in the traditional novels.

As these are graphic novels, the pages are filled with art. I am by no means a graphic novel expert, but the art in this novel was exceptional. Because the majority of the story takes place in New Orleans, the artists used locations like cemeteries and the bayou to invoke mood. Some of the panels were truly magnificent to simply look at.

What struck me as particularly interesting, however, was at the back of the book. Like many books that we read, other books by Richard Castle are listed. It appears as though either the authors of these novels, the show's producers, or both have sat down and hashed out exactly what books Richard Castle has written.

All the Derrick Storm novels are listed, some of which have been published in this reality and some of which have not. The list combines those novels that are now graphic novels and those that have been published as traditional novels, but doesn't differentiate between the two.

All the Nikki Heat books are listed, of course, but so are all of Castle's early novels -- the ones he wrote before he began to write the Derrick Storm series. What struck me is that all of these novels not only have synopses, but cover art as well. That is true dedication to the illusion.

I am not a huge fan of these graphic novels, but this particular one was among the best. The story was interesting, if a bit far-fetched, and the relationship between Storm and Strike was better realized. A quick read, I would recommend it only if you are a fan of the genre. As a part of the Richard Castle canon, it doesn't add much.

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.

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