Richard Castle is an enigma.
On the one hand, he writes the Nikki Heat books. That particular series is fine for what it is, but the writing tends to be self-conscious and the stories tend to be rather mundane. They are fine reads; they are nothing special.
Then, we have the “old” Derrick Storm novels that are currently being turned into graphic novels. Maybe it’s the presentation of them, but I do not enjoy them. Storm is a bit of an ass, and the recurring characters are nothing special.
The third series is the “new” Derrick Storm novels. Reading these books, I can see why Richard Castle is the best selling author he is. Thrillers in which Storm is a mash-up of Bond and Bourne, they are extremely well written and immensely fun to read.
All of which begs the question, how does the same writer create such vastly different books? If we are looking at Richard Castle, it occurs to me that his fantasy life is much richer than his reality. Interesting when one considers how much excitement he gets on a weekly basis.
The true answer is simple. It is not the same writer. I find it fascinating that the writer the producers of the show are using for the Nikki Heat books, the ones that are the more directly tied into the show, is not able to create the same level of excitement or urgency as the writer used for the Storm novels.
Is this book great literature? Dear God, no. It is an easy and quick read, that will keep you turning the pages to discover what Storm gets up to next. The twists and turns are good; some of them are genuinely surprising. The Big Bad was especially well done, with hints throughout the story that are easily missed until you know who it is.
There are many fun moments, including a camel race across a desert that made me laugh out loud. In the first chapter, Storm saves a plane from going down by walking onto the wing. Did I mention the plane is 30,000 feet in the air?
There are a few allusions to the show. One minor character has “a guest appearance on a highly rated ABC television crime drama.” Two new characters are named Javier Rodriguez and Kevin Bryan. “If Jones was the bread, Bryan and Rodriguez were the peanut butter and jelly.”
Similar to the previous Storm novel, one of the Nikki Heat characters is mentioned in this one. Part of the plot revolves around a bird, the Jameson finch, named in honor of Jameson Rook. My favorite tie in, however, is the dedication, “To my always. You make saving the world magical.” Sigh…
This is the perfect book to take to the pool, the beach, or your backyard with a cold beer. While it won’t make you work too hard, it will keep you highly entertained. It kept me up way past my bedtime to finish it.
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.