As I pointed out in my review of Deadly Heat, the last Nikki Heat book, all of the scenes in which Castle makes allusions to events that transpired at the 12th felt shoehorned in. This time, he didn’t even try. There were very few scenes or people I recognized.
Which is one problem with this book. These books are not well written and the plots are absurd. To enjoy them (and I have enjoyed the earlier ones), one needs to be a fan of the show and want to spend the few hours it takes to read the novels looking for allusions. There were very few and they were often throw away lines.
For example, Nikki and Rook meet “a mystery writer who routinely [holds] the top stop on airport bookracks.” This author is famous for throwing loud parties and sleeping with any woman who crosses his path. Really? I thought we were beyond all that.
There were three other major issues with this book. As I write this, I realize that the issues are probably mine, but they made this book difficult to read.
The first is that, like the show, Nikki is offered a wonderful job. She spends the entire book lying to Rook about it and, when he finds out, is shocked that he is angry. If you’ve seen the show, you know whether or not Nikki takes the job in the end. It bothered me a great deal that a woman would give up a fantastic opportunity (in NYC, not Washington) because she wouldn’t be able to spend enough time with her man.
The second is the language. I am not a prude and I have been known to throw around some very blue language. I hate it, however, when it becomes part of daily conversation. Every character in this book swears in nearly every sentence. It got very old very quickly.
The final issue is that Castle chose to place his story during Hurricane Sandy. I don’t know why. There is the obvious symbolism of a massive storm and the stormy relationship between Nikki and Rook, but other than that, the storm adds nothing to the plot. Again, I stress this is my issue, but it is too soon to have that storm be a literary device. Sandy devastated my town and my house so badly it too us all over a year to rebuild. I don’t want to read about it — yet.
I was hugely disappointed in this novel. The plot was convoluted to the point of absurdity, the characters were too over the top, the resolution was telegraphed from the beginning. I guess even Richard Castle can’t get it right every time.
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.