Naked Heat is book 2 in the Nikki Heat series of books. The series was published as to tie-in with the TV series Castle in which Richard Castle, an author, first comes in contact with Detective Kate Beckett when a copycat killer bases his crimes on the former’s books, and decides to base his next series on her. The books were actually written by screenwriter Tom Straw, but published under Castle’s name and feature his picture as author. Since I enjoyed the series so much, the initial seasons particularly, I had been meaning to give the books a try as well, and now I finally read this one which I’d bought last year.
This one opens with Nikki Heat on her way to a crime scene when she encounters something rather unusual. At the crime scene, she finds a victim who used to drive a truck delivering vegetables and fruit with no apparent reason why anyone would kill him. Almost before finishing with that scene, she is called to a second crime scene. Here the victim is a gossip columnist, Cassidy Towne and the person that reporter the murder is journalist Jameson Rook, who was working on a story on her. Needless to say, Towne was no pleasant person and has an endless list of ‘victims’ who’d wish her dead. We follow Rook and Heat and officers Riley and Ochoa as they interview suspects and try to find out which of them actually did her in. As Towne was a celebrity columnist, this is the world they find themselves navigating—not just a singer and a sportsman but also a politician whose career Towne cut short, and Rook’s connections help get them around a bit.
On the personal front, Rook and Heat have broken up since the article he was shadowing her team for ended up focusing on her rather than the team as a whole which left them all angry, and Nikki feeling wronged. Working with Nikki again on this case, Rook hopes to patch things up with her and the others, but Nikki’s old boyfriend enters the scene complicating things a little.
This is an enjoyable read that plays out more or less like any episode of the show Castle. The characters are basically versions of those—Castle is Rook, Beckett is Heat, Ryan is Riley, Esposito is Ochoa, and medical examiner Lanie is Lauren, while Castle’s mother Martha becomes Margaret though his daughter is not in the book (nor mentioned). The mystery is fairly complicated with plenty of suspects (all with strong enough motives) and some red herrings. We also learn something interesting about Rook; while Heat’s mother’s murder is mentioned but there are no developments in that direction. The only complaint if any I had was that may be it felt was a touch too long; but as someone who really enjoyed the show, I thought this was a great deal of fun.
Are you a fan of the show? Have you read this one or any of the others in this series or the Derrick Storm ones? Which ones and how did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!