Naked HeatBook - 2010
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Why would I put the author of this book in quotation marks? Because the author is actually a fictional character himself – as any fan of the ABC television series Castle would know. It is not a new phenomenon to have books written by fictional characters –Meg Cabot wrote a few under the nom de plume Mia Thermopolis, her character from The Princess Diaries, not to mention Harry Potter’s own textbooks, Quiddich Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Tales of Beadle the Bard “written” by his various teachers with help from JK Rowling. The difference here is the credit given to a fictional character, with the author photo of Nathan Fillion, the actor who plays the title character in the series, so the identity of the true author – a ghost-writer – is kept a well-guarded secret. (My money is on James Patterson, Michael Connelly or the recently deceased Stephen J. Cannell, all three of whom occasionally show up in the television series.) As a stand-alone mystery series the stories are fast-paced, with lots of red-herrings, atmospheric New York City and police jargon, great bantering dialogue between characters, and the chemistry between Detective Nikki Heat and her nemesis, reporter Jameson Rook is palpable - especially when the narrative point of view changes between the two. As a companion to the show, fans will no doubt spot the many links between the books’ stories and the show’s episodes (check out the acknowledgements at the end), the inside jokes (in chess, rook and castle are the same piece, for instance), and even a few not-so-subtle references to another Nathan Fillion television series, the short-lived Firefly. In Naked Heat, Rook finds himself shunned by Heat and her team, because of the too-candid nature of a magazine article he wrote. Unfortunately she has to put up with him on her next case – because he’s the one who found the body. It is a gimmick, to be sure, the books are designed to get you to watch the show (both its stars are Canadian-born, by the way). But it is awfully fun, and both Heat Wave and Naked Heat are quick murder-mysteries with only a few gruesome details and one or two timidly-placed expletives. For plot and character driven murder-mystery fans, and of course fans of Castle on television.
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