Every night before I go to bed I try to read a chapter of something. Even if it's past one in the morning and I've been reading and studying all day and night. I think it's important that I take time at the end of my day to unwind my brain so that I'm not dreaming about Russian economics or Western Civ exams. Sometimes I only read a few pages, but it is something non-academic and that is the important part.
Two weeks ago I finished a book. That's something of my accomplishment in my world where I read around 3 to 4 books a week and book reviews about another 10 or so. But none of those books are what I'd call "fun." This was a fun book, Naked Heat by Richard Castle.
This is the second in what I hope will be a long run of Nikki Heat books published by Hyperion Press. The first book Heat Wave is now out in paperback and you really should check it out. You might be thinking, the name Richard Castle sounds familiar but I don't know it because of a book. You're probably right. See, Richard Castle is the main character of the hit tv show Castle (Monday nights, 10pm EST, ABC). The show is about a crime novelist who follows NYPD detective Kate Beckett to research for his new character, Nikkie Heat. It is in its third season and it is absolutely amazing (I mean, it's Nathan Fillion, how can it not be amazing). Chris and I actually have a standing "date" every Monday night. We watch the episode together over skype (yes, adorable and/or sickening, I know).
The show has done something really cool by releasing the books that Castle is writing. It's a really fun way to interact with the show, but the books are awesome in their own right. The first book was published after the very short first season (the whole season is 3 dvds) and was cool, but I like the second book better. While it has not been discussed on the show as much, it definitely interacts more with the previous season. It has its own unique and compelling story, but on the other hand avid fans can see where Castle got the inspiration for different incidents. I'm not going to spoil anything for first time readers or viewers, that's not my style, but let's just say that there are very direct references to key plot points in the second season. It's pretty cool.
Outside of being an integral part of one of my favorite tv shows, Naked Heat is a very good book. I'm not a huge crime novel fan (though I read the latest Kathy Reichs paperback every summer), but these are excellent stories. They do have some procedural feel to them, that's just the nature of the genre, but the character development is very well done. The interaction between Nikkie and the reporter Jameson Rook is just as fun as that between Beckett and Castle and more interesting in this book because the characters have already been established.
Overall, as a tv fan and a fiction lover I highly recommend this book. It is funny, quirky, and I actually did not figure out the ending (if you know me that will mean something). It also kept me up way past one chapter a night, and if that's not a glowing recommendation I don't know what is. The hardback retails for $24.99 but I've seen it discounted at Barnes and Noble. And I've found the paperback for the first book in Walmart and several drug stores. This in itself should tell you something because when Heat Wave came out last year it was only available on Amazon and they sold out several times.
The rest of the nation may be concerned with election results tonight, but I'm just wishing I could get another Heat fix.