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Heat Wave: 12/20/09
Castle is in its second season on ABC. Author Richard Castle is played by Nathan Fillion. In the first season he had killed off his well loved detective and sets out to create a new detective, Nikki Heat. The second season his book is released and in "Fool Me Once" Detective Kate Beckett gets hold of an advanced reader copy and is caught hiding in a stall to read the sex scene on page 105. Now if you want to read the scene (and the rest of the book) you can in Heat Wave by Richard Castle.
Richard Castle, fictional TV author is taking on a metafictional life like Ellery Queen. Now Ellery Queen began as a collaboration between two authors and then went onto the founding of a mystery magazine, a movie franchise and a television series. Castle is doing things in a little different order but he shares a lot in common with Ellery Queen.
Ellery Queen, amateur sleuth helps Inspector Richard Queen solve murders in Manhattan. He has a secretary named Nikki Porter. Richard Castle of course helps Detective Kate Beckett. His main character is Nikki Heat (another Queen homage?). She is being followed by reporter Jameson Rook (yet another chess piece name).
Going into the novel then, I expected an easy to read, relatively easy to solve mystery akin to a typical Ellery Queen book. Heat Wave is exactly that. The mystery is no more difficult to solve than a typical Castle episode. The language and situations though are more adult (nudity, sex, swearing) that you won't see on a non-cable television network show.
The mystery involves a man thrown out of a high-rise apartment and the theft of his art collection. The different settings and situations draw from scenes in the television show. As the set up for the show is Castle using Beckett's cases as research for his writing, it makes sense to see a patchwork of episodes throughout the novel.
I'm a fan of the series and a fan of Ellery Queen. Heat Wave made for a fun weekend of reading. It took me two days to read it but I could have done it in a single day if I hadn't been busy.
Ellery Queen had a career that spanned 42 years. I don't know how long Richard Castle's will span. Heat Wave is currently selling well so it wouldn't surprise me if a second Nikki Heat book appears. If Castle truly takes off then I suspect we'll start seeing books from his previous series.
Castle is the creation of Jennifer Allen ("first reader always") and Terri Miller ("partner in crime"). While ABC isn't admitting who ghost wrote this novel, my money's on them.
How Ellery Queen, Richard Castle and Jameson Rook compare:
Some notes on Ellery Queen: