Nan's Reviews > Heat Wave

Heat Wave by Richard Castle
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's review
Nov 22, 10

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bookshelves: mystery
Read from November 21 to 22, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I was initially hesitant to read this book because it seemed too gimmicky. However, after my husband bought it at a garage sale a week ago, I gave it a spin.

For the most part, this is an entertaining book. It's extremely lightweight--both in length and in any kind of graphic detail. In many ways, the book read like an episode of Castle, although since it's supposedly written by Castle himself, it also read like a wish-fulfillment of his. To be honest, I didn't mind that part of the book. It was fun to see Beckett through Castle's eyes, see the way he lumps the other detectives together into "Roach," see him cast as being moderately heroic.

The parts that got to me were the tie-ins to the Disney/ABC empire. At various points, the book references the movie Up, the TV show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Diane Sawyer. Every allusion is to a Disney/ABC product. Admittedly, this is a tie-in to an ABC show. And Disney owns the publisher, Hyperion. But it was a little much.

I know that this is not the first time a television show has launched a real-world spin-off like this. I can remember when an actress on Days of Our Lives recorded a duet called "Friends and Lovers in the 80s. In the real world, the song was released under her real name, but in the show, it was released by her character. The song actually charted for little while. More recently, at least two other soap operas have tried to release books--one by "Kendall" of All My Children. So far as a I know, despite initial success, those other tie-ins have pretty much always proven to be failures. Part of their problem is the inherent suspension of disbelief it takes to imagine these preexisting characters recast as successful artists (whether that is as a musician or writer). Also, the TV shows have, by and large, not been willing to continue the story line of character-as-artist. While it may be fun for Kendall to become a novelist in the short term, the TV show will not allow that to become her life's vocation.

Unlike those other shows, the concept of Castle is centered around a writer and his relationships in the "real world" of the TV show and how those relationships inform his fiction. So long as the TV show is on the air, I can easily see this book series continuing in popularity. Instead of a tie-in, or a gimmick, as I've called it above, it seems more like a companion. That's probably because this novel is actually fairly well-written. Personally, I'd like to see the book series develop further and tell more involved stories than what might appear on the TV show. I do think that this book was good enough that I will likely keep up with the books.

However, I'd really like to see an end to the Disney advertising.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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The Holy Terror Dang, I didn't even catch the product placement stuff. Maybe because I listened to the first one on audio? I actually don't watch the show at all, and just decided to try this on a whim. I enjoyed the characters, and thought Rook was both funny and sexy, and Nikki was tough but not a bitch. I actually just finished the second book today, and I liked it and all, but Heat Wave was better.

message 2: by Nan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nan If you liked the book, you should definitely watch the series. One of the things that the book captured really well was the back-and-forth dialogue with Rook and Heat.

I don't know if I noticed the product placement more because of it being in print or not. Some of it may just be because I recognized the references. For instance, they don't name Diane Sawyer, they just explain that Heat plays poker with a the host of a morning news show whose husband had won an Oscar. That would be Diane Sawyer--I saw GMA the morning after after her husband's Monty Python and the Holy Grail did so well at the Tonys.

I might have also noticed this because I've paid attention to the way Disney controls its media empire. For a while there, the only authors interviewed on GMA were all published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney.

Julie Ahahah. I found this at a used book sale. Lent it to my parents first since they had also just gotten hooked on Castle - now they just gave it back to me.

message 4: by Nan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nan I'll look forward to seeing what you think of it, Julie. Did your parents like it?

message 5: by Milly (new)

Milly Wow, what a great review! I just learned so much TV trivia just from it. I have to say though, I loved that song but didn't know the history of it, and now I do. Thanks for another delightful review!

message 6: by Nan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nan Milly, I like to tell people that they shouldn't play Trivial Pursuit with me. I know far too many useless facts--but I love when I can make them relevant, like with the song, above.

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