Heat Wave: Nikki Heat, Book 1

Heat Wave: Nikki Heat, Book 1




How well does ‘Heat Wave’ match up with the television series that spawned it? Read on to find out.


The title character from ABC’s hit television series Castle kicks off his new series of books featuring tough and sexy New York police detective Nikki Heat with a bang.
Full Synopsis
A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal. Secrets that lay hidden in the dark until one NYPD detective shines a light.

Mystery sensation Richard Castle introduces his newest character, NYPD homicide detective Nikki Heat. Tough, sexy, and professional, Nikki carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City’s top homicide squads. She’s hit with an unexpected challenge when the commissioner assigns superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook to ride along with her to research an article on New York’s Finest. Pulitzer Prize winner Rook is as much a handful as he is handsome. But his wisecracking and meddling aren’t Nikki’s only problems. As she works to unravel the secrets of the murdered real estate tycoon, she must also confront the spark between them. The one called heat.

Castle, the hit ABC television series, premiered in March 2009. The main character, Richard Castle, is the bestselling mystery author of the critically acclaimed Derrick Storm novels. The hard-nosed but sexy Detective Kate Beckett, with whom Castle is paired up, provided the inspiration for Nikki Heat.


I am only a casual fan of the ‘Castle’ television series on ABC. I enjoy watching the show whenever I catch an episode but I don’t go out of my way to watch it. That should be taken as more of a reflection on my personal preferences than the quality of the show itself.
When I found out that there was a tie-in series of novels I was intrigued. Obviously, this is not a new concept by any means. However, I liked the tone of the TV series enough that I wanted to see if I would enjoy the books.
It turns out that I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It helps that the book captures the style of the tv series pretty well. Credit to whomever took up Richard Castle’s pen for this novel because they knew what they were writing. The two main characters match up with their TV counterparts in a lot of ways. You can substitute Heat and Rook for Beckett and Castle with no major problems.
As for the story itself, it was fun. There were a lot of twists and turns throughout that really did keep me guessing. It paced pretty well as we got a good mix of action scenes and scenes where the characters showed off skills like problem solving and deduction.
I was a little surprised to see the romance between Rook and Heat taken as far as it was in the first novel. I realize there was a will they/won’t they vibe for several seasons on the show but as I wasn’t watching in season one, I don’t know how well this novel matched up to that season. I wasn’t expecting them to be put together so soon but the fact that they were isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They have a lot of chemistry that I enjoy. As a fan of word play myself I found their banter to be quite believable.
The fact is that both of them are strong characters with easily defined characteristics. Even if I had know knowledge of the TV series before reading this book, I still would have ended up liking and caring about these two people. Throw in a couple of co-workers that like to crack wise and I had a good time reading this one. I will definitely revisit this series again in the future. Maybe I’ll even make more of an effort to watch ‘Castle’ on television.


How can you evaluate an author that is fictional? I did some googling but could not figure out who took up Richard Castle’s pen for ‘Heat Wave’. Whomever it was had a good handle on the tone and humor that is found on the TV series. The novel reads a lot like an actual episode of the TV series which is very welcome and makes perfect sense. If you enjoy the humor of the show then you will have no trouble whatsoever with the novel. Also, whomever wrote this novel knows how to craft a good mystery. It took me a lot longer to solve this one than it usually does. In a way, I was making as many guesses towards the end of the book as Rook.


It is always good when you can have one of your personal biases challenged. Typically, when the main character in a story is a woman, I would prefer that the narrator be female. However, Johnny Heller‘s performance was so good that I only thought about my preference in the context of how wrong I was in this case.
Heller has won several awards for his narration of audiobooks and it is easy to understand why. He did a good job conveying the emotion and tone of any given scene. An early interrogation scene has him reading at a slightly quicker pace to convey the anxiety of the witness being questioned. When he is giving voice to a female character, he softens it up a bit but not enough that it is a distraction. He also provides a lot of fun accents when appropriate. About the worst thing I can say about his narration is that his reading of Homer Simpson’s “D’oh” is acceptable but not amazing.
As I stated before, the performance Heller gave had me rethinking my preference to have the gender of the narrator matched to the gender of the main character. This proves once again that every rule has an exception.
This was not the first book I’ve listened to narrated by Heller. I listened to him narrate a nonfiction title earlier this year. In my opinion, he can handle fictional characters and scenarios as well as he can real people and actual events. Heller is fast becoming a favorite of mine.


The copy of ‘Heat Wave’ provided by Tantor.com is split in to 20 parts with each part covering a single chapter. The audio is as solid as you’re going to get with everything coming across clean and clear. There are no musical cues or other sound effects to be found on the tracks.


A solid debut effort that manages to capture the spirit, tone and humor of the television series on which it is based. It provides well-defined characters and a lot of fun dialog to make for a fast read. I don’t know what else you could ask for out of a tie-in novel such as this.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Heat Wave: Nikki Heat, Book 1 Richard Castle Johnny Heller Tantor Audio Mystery & Thriller 10/26/2009 6 hours, 26 minutes 7.75/10


A copy of ‘Heat Wave’ was purchased from Tantor.com for review.