Heat Rises by Richard Castle

February 25, 2012

Plot summary (from the publisher): Fast-paced and full of intrigue, Heat Rises pairs the tough and sexy NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat with hotshot reporter Jameson Rook in New York Times bestselling author Richard Castle’s most thrilling mystery yet.

The bizarre murder of a parish priest at a New York bondage club opens Nikki Heat’s most thrilling and dangerous case so far, pitting her against New York’s most vicious drug lord, an arrogant CIA contractor, and a shadowy death squad out to gun her down. And that is just the tip of an iceberg that leads to a dark conspiracy reaching all the way to the highest level of the NYPD.

But when she gets too close to the truth, Nikki finds herself disgraced, stripped of her badge, and out on her own as a target for killers, with nobody she can trust. Except maybe the one man in her life who’s not a cop: reporter Jameson Rook.

In the midst of New York’s coldest winter in a hundred years, there’s one thing Nikki is determined to prove: Heat Rises.

Warning: Spoilers below!


[Note: I’m pressed for time here, so I’m just going to give some brief comments instead of my usual list of Likes/Dislikes.]

The first time ABC put one of these “Richard Heat” books out as a companion to the Castle TV series, I loved it. I thought the idea was great, and I enjoyed imagining Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook as Beckett and Castle from the show. But now with the third installment, the conceit has grown a bit tired. One reason is that Nikki doesn’t have much personality in the book, and comes across as a very flat character. She’s just totally boring on the page, and without Stana Katic’s lovely face to look at, there’s little reason to enjoy this one-dimensional representation of Beckett.

Another reason is that Heat and Rook are actively a couple, which is something that fans of the TV show have been waiting impatiently for for 3 1/2 seasons now. It sucks reading about Heat and Rook’s relationship stuff knowing that Castle and Beckett aren’t there yet. Even if the books are meant to be something to look forward to, it’s little solace for shippers.

A third reason I didn’t enjoy this book is that the crime/mystery angle has NEVER been the TV show’s strong suit. That’s not why viewers tune in. There are plenty of other procedurals that are much better than Castle at the straightforward cop stuff. The banter, witty comments, and lighthearted flirting is what makes the show great. The books obviously focus on the crime, though, which I think is a big mistake.


It took me a long time to get into Heat Rises, and even longer to finish it. I put it aside several times to finish other books instead, which is an indication of how little attraction it held. I give this one 2 stars out of 5 and think I’m done with the series.

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