Richard Derus's Reviews > Heat Wave

Heat Wave by Richard Castle
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Jan 16, 2012

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Read in April, 2010

Rating: a deeply surprised 3* of five

As a rule, I watch very little TV that isn't about science, on PBS, or revoltingly prurient. Outside of that, why bother? So the other year, there came on this little show called "Castle" that had a promising premise: Bestselling author strongarms NYC mayor into giving him access to a working homicide team to research a character for some novels. (Yeah, right.) Sorta like being an embedded journalist in Afghanistan.

I heard about it, I watched a few, I liked it fine. I forgot all about it after a few episodes, which is pretty much Standard Operating Procedure for me, unless the show is revoltingly prurient in which case its entire schedule is permanently etched in my brain (need to know when another episode of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" is coming on? Me or the website, either one can tell you).

Then this slender volume assaults my eyes in the Buns and Nubile I patronize in Carle Place. I mean, what? A book by a fictional author in a real bookstore? And it's not soap opera related?! (Charm! by "Kendall Hart" - go look it up, and yes I watch "All My Children" I already said I like revoltingly prurient TV so leave it.) So I got...oh the shame...curious. I couldn't bring myself to plunk down twenty United States dollars for the little marvy, but the liberry saved me.

Sort of saved me, anyway. I read the book, a competently written tale of love gone bad, greed, revenge, and a dash of silly sex tossed (!) in for good measure. I wouldn't recommend it on its literary merits.

But I was struck by something interesting...the TV network that runs the show is owned by the same corporation that owns the publishing house, and that corporation owns several companies whose products figure into the story. The story itself isn't the usual "this is a script we couldn't find a way to budget so now it's a hit-series-companion-volume" type of thing...this is the book the fictional author in the series is said to be researching and writing, featuring the thinly disguised fictionalization of the sexy homicide detective he's following around. So for fans of the show, there are in-jokes and throwaways that add a level of insiderness to the read.

And it makes me feel a little queasy, frankly. It's all so...arch, manipulative, packaged that it just comes across as...cynical. It reeks of editorial committee meetings wherein the Corporate Parent's Wishes are acceded to. Possibly even applauded. Whatever, it just isn't natcherl, like a blue rose isn't. Recommended? Oh...on balance, not; if you're interested in plumbing the depths of commercialization, this is a good case study, though.
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Eric It was on sale on Amazon today. I wouldn't pay $10 for the curiosity, but for $2, I couldn't help myself. If nothing else, it will be blessedly short. (I also like the show, although I stopped watching a while ago)


Richard Derus Eric wrote: "It was on sale on Amazon today. I wouldn't pay $10 for the curiosity, but for $2, I couldn't help myself. If nothing else, it will be blessedly short. (I also like the show, although I stopped wa..."

I feel much the same way. Castle is a decent show, but I can't keep up with series TV too well. I get bored and wander off. Makes soaps the perfect watching for me.


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