3-1/2 stars out of 5
The over-hyping of the wedding that never happened last season on the Castle TV show, I have to say, hit a sour note for me. And even though I'll tune in again this season, it won't be with anywhere near the same enthusiasm I've had in previous years. Unfortunately, I suspect that experience has carried over to the books as well. In large part, I'm sure that's because the books read like TV scripts and -- like the show -- are more fluff than substance.
So it is, then, that for the most part I ho-hummed my way through this, the sixth book in the series. About halfway through, I even considered not even bothering to finish it; but since I hate to do that with any book, I sneaked a peak at the reviews at Amazon.com -- and learned that 29 of the 35 reviewers gave it 5 stars. Say what? I asked myself, concluding that I'd better return to the book with a more positive attitude.
Did it work? Only a little. Sure, there were glimmers of the fun banter between Detective Heat and her writer/lover, Jameson Rook. One in particular made me chuckle out loud. After a rather nasty explosion, a message was found that simply read, "BYE HEAT." Rook's quip was immediate: "He left out the comma."
The story itself, though, never really jiggled any of my happy buttons. It begins when an illegal immigrant drops into the NYPD's lap -- almost literally -- seemingly from the sky. Heat and Rook are together again after a lengthy absence while he worked on a story -- which is good -- and she's looking at the possibility of being tapped for a task force that could jeopardize their future as a couple -- which isn't. To make matters worse, they can't agree on the prime suspect in the murder investigation; Heat is convinced a powerful city politician is behind it, but Rook (and some key members of Heat's investigative team) aren't so sure -- and her unrelenting passion to find proof that she's right threatens to destroy her relationships with Rook and her squad members.
In the end, it wasn't a truly bad reading experience, but neither can I work up much excitement about it. Just like the TV show, I fear that this series may be past its prime.
Raging Heat by Richard Castle (Kingswell (ABC) September 2014); 304 pp.