Heat Wave – Richard Castle 2009
The entire time I had this book in my hands I was giggling, giddy with delight at the marketing genius that allows the main character on a television show to (a) profess that he’s a real human being, and (b) to “write” such an entertaining piece of fluff that, by the way, reads EXACTLY like an episode of the tv show in question, ABC network’s “Castle.” If you’re a fan, as I am, you’ll get a massive kick out of this book. And if you’ve never even heard of the show, the book is worthwhile just for the relentless, sexually-charged banter between the main characters (ultra-tough New York City police detective Nikki Heat and her celebrity journalist-shadow Jameson Rook) and for a surprisingly solid – if simple – plotline wrapped around the murder of a New York business giant that leads to countless exposed secrets, more bloodshed and a large heist of valuable art. Sure, it’s trite and too tightly choreographed, but it’s a good romp all the same. Break out the tequila and lime and send me an advance copy of Naked Heat. Pretty please.
The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing – Melissa Bank 1999
I read this on recommendation from a friend who was delighted by its humour; indeed, the book jacket reviews wax ecstatic about the similarities between Bank’s main character, a sometime American associate editor named Jane Rosenal, and the irrepressible, effervescent Bridget Jones. Although both characters seem completely unhinged when it comes to dealings with the opposite sex and both books pivot around the same axis – Jane and Bridget’s search for meaningful romantic relationships – the similarities end there. Bank’s novel (which is actually a collection of short stories that span decades of time and are so interconnected that you can’t read them separately) doesn’t tickle my funny bone; instead, it seems relentlessly bittersweet. Intelligent, confused, and faced with a number of painful situations, Jane hits thirtysomething still seeking a man who will be soul-mate material, in the meantime making serious and poignant observations about her family, friends and career. While the writing is precise and constantly driving, ensuring a quick read, I just could not find the humour in it at all. Obviously my friend and I are not on the same page with this one.